Guest post: Enchanted Forests and the bid to support rainforest conservation by Astrid V.J.

Enchanted Forests is a collection of ten short fantasy stories about magical forests and the creatures living in them. All proceeds of this book are being donated to Rainforest Foundation to support their work in rainforest conservation.

Why does the book exist?

Ten fantasy authors who are concerned about the state of the planet saw an opportunity to do good with their writing. Each on our own, we don’t have the following or the financial wherewithal to make a significant contribution towards this important cause. But when we joined forces, we found we actually have a chance to make a difference.

Enchanted Forests is the second charity anthology these authors have worked on together, and it has been a fantastic opportunity to collaborate and turn the writing process, which is usually very lonely work, into a group activity. The authors read and critique each other’s stories and Elena Shelest has contributed with illustrations for each story in addition to providing her short story for the anthology. The previous book in the Enchanted Anthologies series of fantasy story collections for charitable causes is Enchanted Waters.

Why Rainforest conservation?

Since this anthology is about magical forests, the authors wanted to make a contribution towards forest conservation. Rainforests, specifically, are the type of forest in greatest danger from human activities. Deforestation overshadows conservation attempts to the extent that eight million hectares of rainforest are lost every year! Add to that: virtually all rainforest deforestation is driven by human activity! At the same time, rainforests are the source of foods and other products (many used in medicines) that we humans need.

Rainforest Foundation supports indigenous and traditional peoples of the world’s rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights by assisting them in securing and controlling the natural resources necessary for their long-term well-being and managing these resources in ways which do not harm their environment, violate their culture or compromise their future. Additionally, Rainforest Foundation works to develop the means to protect their individual and collective rights, and to obtain, shape and control basic services from the state.

About the authors

Jennifer Kropf is a Canadian author obsessed with Christmas legends and folklore. 

Xander Cross creates original stories with folkloric elements from all over the world.

Ben is a myth obsessive who writes stories with exotic settings and cool monsters.

Alice is a young adult fantasy and fairytale author who spends most of her time adventuring in mythical lands and the rest exploring non-mythical ones.

Lyndsey writes young adult fantasy filled with myths, magic and swoon-worthy romance.

N.D.T. Casale is an Italian-American fantasy author creating magical realms for others to escape into and enjoy.

Astrid V.J. is a South African fantasy author who writes transformation fiction: exploring our human capacity to transform our lives and achieve success in the face of adversity.

Sky Sommers is a fan of retold fairytales, valkyries and frozen cinnamon buns.

Donna White writes epic and paranormal fantasy stories with mysterious adventures, gracious characters, and a touch of humor.

Elena Shelest is a Ukranian-American artist and author of romantic fantasy inspired by Cossack culture.

About the stories:

Gems of Fae and Foolery by Alice Ivinya

These two female dwarves aren’t to be crossed, especially not by an arrogant fae lord.

One Fair Eve by Lyndsey Hall

One dream. One wish. One bargain Pip will come to regret.

To Snare a Prince by Sky Sommers

What do you do when a six-headed dragon complains of indigestion after it’s just gobbled up a dark elf? Easy, you tell it to wait in line like everyone else.

Willow Daughter by Astrid V.J.

When a woodcutter follows a song into the forbidden depths of the forest, he finds himself tangled in a deadly conflict between the Willow Daughter and the Forest Father.

Pingguo and the Dead Forest by Xander Cross

In a desolate post-apocalyptic world riven by famine, three children make a journey through the Dead Forest in search for seeds defended by a dragon.

The Fern Flower by Elena Shelest

On the night when the legendary fern flower appears in the forest, can Miray and Savko find their true path?

Blood of the Unicorn by N.D.T. Casale

A wicked queen’s desire for blood from the hearts of unicorns, sends a princess through a divided forest into the shadows of death.

Dimension of the Sasquatch by Donna White

A lot has happened to the curator of a supernatural treasure trove since she discovered that she can walk through different dimensions, now she’s traveling with Bigfoot.

Feather Green by Jennifer Kropf

When Estheryn overhears the royal family’s secrets, it’s her father who pays the price, resulting in a careless murder that propels her to do the unthinkable: disobey the direct order of the Prince of Persianna and enter the forest.

The Lucky Tortoise by Ben Lang

A prince’s duty is to bring his people luck and the slightest misstep means bringing ruin to the kingdom…or worse…

Join us in making the world a better place! We are currently looking for readers to join our review team to help out with a review on Amazon, Goodreads and/or Bookbub during the book’s release week. You’ll get a free e-book copy of Enchanted Forests as well as your name included in the book’s acknowledgements if you sign up before May 15, 2022. Sign up here.

Enchanted Forests is available to pre-order here.



Author Interview – Havelah McLat

Author of Short stories and Flash fiction

Joining me today is Havelah McLat. Author of short stories and a lover of flash fiction.

Welcome Havelah. Now, I know you love writing short stories and have a few posted for free to various websites as well as your own website. What started you off writing?

Havelah: One of my oldest siblings got me into writing. It all started when I asked her to write a story with my fairy characters, and she did. At that point, that’s how my writing journey began. I started off with short fairy stories less than a thousand words and now I like to write longer stories. 

Helen: What made you choose short stories? I always struggle to keep to a word count; my novels tend to be getting longer!

Havelah: When I first started writing stories, I was finding my style and voice. I was a newbie writer and knew very little about writing. One thing about short stories, they help you develop better in writing and learning about different skills in general.

Helen: You’ve written fairy tales, what else do you write about?

Havelah: I like to write a variety of genres. I’ve written stories that are fantasy, or inspirational, and sometimes historical fiction. I like to write fantasy because it gives me freedom to be creative and have fun. Especially with fairy stories.  

Helen: Tell us about your writing space. You mentioned you have a large family, it must be difficult to find peace and quiet to write.

Havelah: In my room, on my bed. But now I’m trying to break that habit and write at my desk more. I feel the need to sit on a chair and desk in front of me and write that way and have a candle next to me. Sometimes if the weather is nice and cool, I would write outside. But most of the time, I write in my room, alone. I prefer drafting or revision. I guess it depends on what story I’m doing. I’m not too good at editing. Especially when it comes to grammar and tenses. 

Helen: Do you plan your stories or let them take you where they will? I imagine for a short story you have to be more concise?

Havelah: I’m in the middle. I usually know if the story is going to be long or short. I don’t always know how everything is going to be, but often I know how the story will go. I tried one time doing outlines for one story, but I decided to let the story play out and see how they unfold in the process. Every writer did things differently, which is okay. I don’t mind it all. In fact, it is kind of fun.

Helen: I’m glad you have a cosy corner. I love candles too. Do you prefer silence to write? Does the help you concentrate?

Havelah: I do like to listen to music. Uh, I have a list of songs I randomly listen to when I write. Some are up-lifting, fantasy instrumentals, Christian songs, and country songs, and Folklore by Taylor Swift. They have a way to keep me motivated and give me inspiration for stories. 

Helen: Which type of characters do enjoy writing the most? Villains or heroes?

Havelah: I honestly don’t mind doing both. There is one in my recent draft I finished. He is my first antagonist I’ve created. It was a fun yet challenging experience. I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to spoil any. You might read it in the future 😉 

Helen: I bet you are a big reader, most authors are! What do you like to read? Are you reading anything right now?

Havelah: I recently read two books The Wing Thief and Sing Me Forgotten. Both fantasies, but one is a retelling of the Phantom of the Opera, gender swap, and the other is a fairy adventure. They are both great stories and I highly recommend them. 

I am currently reading The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Montron, a historical fiction, and Wonder by R.J. Pallacio. By the time this is post, I’ll probably have finished them both and will be reading other books on my TBR list. Always a never-ending list of books to read :D. 

Helen: You are a prolific reader! Tell us how do you get ideas for new stories?

Havelah: Every project I do is different. Some will be inspirations from Pinterest pictures or watch movies and books. Half of the time, they are inspired by real life. Other times, I like to try and think up stories for fun.

Helen: Thank you for your time today, Havelah. It’s been lovely talking with you. Just to bring us to a close, tell us why you’d decided to give away your children’s short stories for free.

Havelah: I felt writing short fiction was a good way to begin my writing career. I self-published on Smashwords for a start, because I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in buying ebooks, I want to provide the ebooks and in return for a review. 

I do have three self-published eBooks all available on my website, or you can get them on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and iBook. They are short and fun to read for young children, but adults are more than welcome to read them too. All of them are free. In return, I would appreciate a review. I also published a flash fiction The Whole of the Moon in There is Us an Anthology and Catharsis in LitStream Literature Magazine. You can visit Please don’t forget to sign up for a newsletter for monthly guest blogs. If you want to be part of the guest blog, contact me and we will work out the schedule.  

About Havelah McLat:

My name is Havelah McLat. I’m an author of children’s collection stories and have published one story The Whole of the Moon in There is Us Anthology and flash fiction Catharsis in Litstream Literary Magazine.

I lived in a small town on a farm. I come from a family of seven siblings and two parents. I like to take care of chickens, and help around the house. When I’m not doing those things or writing, I like to draw and listen to music, or ride a bike or take a walk and read a book, and sometimes watch YouTube videos to learn more about publishing industry.

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