Guest Post: Andrew Hiller Finds ‘S Wonderful at the Baltimore Faerie Faire

What fun! I really didn’t know what to expect when I accepted the Author of the Year recognition from the Baltimore Faerie Faire, but there was belly dancing, big bands, folk music, a hoard of really cool/fun people…

AND I was given a key to the Faerie Kingdom!

It all started when I received a random Facebook friendship invite. I checked out their stream before accepting (My sister taught me to do this.) Happily, the person passed the spam test so I clicked “approve.” Almost immediately I received an IM.

My newest friend started off by thanking me, and launched into how much she loved A Halo of Mushrooms. She’d picked up a copy at Mars Con in January, devoured it, read passages to her husband, and brought it to the attention of her reading group. I felt flattered and thanked her. Then, she added that she was one of the organizers of the Baltimore Faerie Faire and not only wanted me to come, but to be their author of the year.

Swim, small fish, swim!

I got the details, checked out the website, and said, “Yes.”

It turns out the Baltimore Faerie Faire is not only a warm community, but enough of a big deal to be included in the official state of Maryland’s tourism website. It took place over two days. On April 13th, they held the Masquerade Ball and on 14th was the Faire itself. My major duty was to step before the faerie court to ease the transition between the seasons and aid in the passing of the baton from the Winter Queen to the Spring. I also had a table for signings and some other authorly roles. Both Seelie and Unseelie.

The Ball was great. Spritely music played as professional burlesque dancers, belly dancers, and folk dancers twirled on the floor. In between, the attendees boogied… or is that bogied.

When I was introduced during the Ball as the man of the hills and 2019 Author of the Year, they gave me a key to the Faerie City! Everything went as smooth as faerie dust. On the second day… well, you know something always happens during live performance!

The second court began with the faerie queen of winter, the magpie, resisting her dethroning. This was planned and scripted. The crowd played along and tried to bribe her with shinies. After being mollified, I was introduced and began my speech. I glorified the magpie as someone who does not hoard, but protects and keeps safe our treasures from winter’s bite.Then, I pivoted to extol spring, that transition from gray and white, to green, red, purple, and new life. A time of blossom and seed. As I read, I spy the the organizer hurrying up to me. She stabs at my speech and whispers, “Don’t read that!” I look at her.

I’m not to introduce the Spring Queen?

It turns out that they couldn’t find their Queen. She got hung up in traffic or between dimensions or something. I finish, receive my applause, and recede back into the crowd, but after about ten minutes of music and funny schtick mainly about Winter not wanting to give up her crown, I return to my table.

Fifteen minutes later, they re-summon me to court. I sprint back and see the Queen of Spring waiting in the wings. I start thinking furiously. I’m not going to reread my speech. I don’t want to put the audience through that no matter how poetic and pretty it is. What can I say that I didn’t say the first time?

I decide that it would be fun to wink at the audience and talk about how sometimes Winter refuses to release its grip and Spring comes late.

It works. The crowd laughs. Spring smiles good-naturedly. I take a step back. Receive a gift from the Queen of Spring. Chapstick! Then, the organizer asks me to tell the Queen of Spring how wonderful she is.

What?

More?

Two things pop in my mind. I covered this already and the audience has already been asked to sit for far longer than anyone expected. What can I possibly say? And then it hits me…

Gershwin!

I belt out, “You’re wonderful!”

The crowd roars and the organizer says, “Yes! Like that! Tell her more!” So, I sing,

“You’re marvelous!”

Of the things I never expected to do as Author of the year, crooning old standards was probably high on the list, but as with all writing… you go where the story takes you and do what the story demands!

Thank you to the organizers of the Baltimore Faerie Faire! I had such a great time. I am both humbled and honored that you embraced my work. I will remember this weekend for a long time.

Oh… and for the record, I did eat faerie fare at the faire. Surprisingly, it tasted like chicken, Masala chicken to be specific.

Author Bio:

Andrew Hiller is the author of A Halo of Mushrooms, A Climbing Stock and the editor of Thursday Stories. Follow him on Twitter as @AndrewHiller.

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About Cat Rambo

I am a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor. My three collections of short stories are THE SURGEON'S TALE AND OTHER STORIES (with Jeff VanderMeer), EYES LIKE SKY AND COAL AND MOONLIGHT, and NEAR + FAR (forthcoming this September).
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