Different Name for Children's Books Because...Morality and Sexuality


Hey y’all,

I’m about to put out a children’s book, The Golden Pedestal. This original fairy tale is written in the classical style, with black and white illustrations interspersed throughout the story. There is no technology, the characters are archetypal, and there is a moral to the story. I wrote this story years ago, and a reviewer described it and the other kids’ story in the collection, Why Roses Have Thorns, as “gentle parables about the dangers of pride.” I concur.


To be more specific, I describe The Golden Pedestal as a cautionary tale about narcissism and how destructive it is to a community. My partner says The Golden Pedestal makes an effective allegory for popularity contests that gain momentum in high school.


Originally, the title of the story was Preacher Man and the Golden Pedestal, a friend of mine did about 7 illustrations, the books were handmade on 8.5x11” paper that I printed at the local copier and then bound with mini black binder clips. The cover was an illustration of the Preacher Man on top of the Golden Pedestal against a bright yellow background, whereas Roses was red. These were part of the DIY book tour/roadtrip odyssey that I took in 2005, and that I drop one of those old emails in this blog from time to time.


Perhaps because it was a pourquoi story, Roses sold noticeably better than Pedestal on that trip. Yet a lot of people preferred Pedestal when they read it in the collection.


So after messing about with the title and deciding to keep it simple, I hired an illustrator with some experience as a working artist to provide a fresh perspective, not to mention a lot more illustrations, and a book designer fresh out of a graphic design program who is eager to work in her new career. She did a lovely job with taking pieces of the illustrations and sprinkling them all over the book. Thus The Golden Pedestal is transformed into is a beautiful gem of a book. At least, I believe it is. I’m excited to get it out there.


I also am pretty clueless on how to market this to the general public because it’s completely different than the adult novels I usually write. It also complicates things just a bit that I write children’s fairy tales using my first name (Mary), and my adult fairy tales under my middle name (Montgomery).

I was advised to use different names to prevent confusion, especially for parents who might get scared off by the nature of my adult work. The Ella Bandita Stories – I’m at work on the second novel right now – cover the darker themes of sexuality, yearning, seduction, grief, loss, alienation, and these novels are for an adult audience. Although the sex scenes are not the majority of the story by any means, the sex scenes are explicit enough to be considered erotica. There’s only 1 scene like this in Ella Bandita and the Wanderer, but in The Shepherd and the Courtesan, there will be many more.

Although it may be the better part of wisdom to separate my children’s work from my adult work, I think it’s a shame. Sexuality and morality are two completely different states of being, and this really shouldn’t be necessary. Yet I was raised with the belief that good morals had far more concern with “not having sex before marriage,” and not enough concern for being honest, kind, and humble; having integrity; playing fair; living with courage and authenticity; acknowledging the dignity of others; and respecting the rights of others. It is very possible that somebody could have a sex drive so high they are what is considered “promiscuous,” but still embody all these beautiful traits that make a truly moral being. Yet how often is such a person given credit for having sound principles?

The cold, hard truth is we live in a highly sex negative society. That has not changed after decades of sex before marriage is the norm; many couples live together before getting married, and many young people have at least a few lovers before they do settle down.

Truthfully, I am so turned off by the word “moral,” I often substitute it with “principled” because it doesn’t have the emotional charge that makes my skin crawl. I often cringe when I hear “morals.” What comes to mind is the hard edged voice of an embittered dowager who is usually slut-shaming a girl or young woman for being sexual – whether she is “promiscuous” or not.

I could go on and on about this, and frankly, this last could be a long blog in its own right, and maybe it will be later. So I conclude with – I’m about to come out with a children’s book. I promise The Golden Pedestal will encourage good morals in your kids.

So what is The Golden Pedestal about? 

A fable for ages 8 and up!

The Purple Princess has it so good. Her best friends, Sir Highbrow Olive and Miss Blue Begonia live on either side of her. The Purple Princess loves to play piano. Sir Highbrow Olive loves to study. Miss Blue Begonia loves to garden. They live with a view of the Golden Pedestal that drew their ancestors from the mountains to this valley. Harmony rules this village until the Preacher Man falls to his knees before the Golden Pedestal. Every day, the Preacher Man preaches of the glory of gold, begging the question: Who is good enough to be beholden on the Golden Pedestal? Then the people choose the Purple Princess as the one they should worship, the one who stands above all the rest. Sir Highbrow Olive and Miss Blue Begonia rush to her aid, and the three friends must find a way to reclaim the peace and harmony of their home before it is too late.

I hope you enjoyed some of the illustrations throughout this blog post. If this sounds like the kind of story you'd want for your kids and you'd love to pre-order a copy, write to me at freeflyingpress@gmail.com, send me a Paypal of $10 with both your email and physical addresses by September 15th, 2018, you'll get that beautiful book by the end of September. Unless you live in another country. It may take longer. 

Thanks for reading!




The Divorce of Vice and Virtue


Montgomery Mahaffey is the founder of Left Hanging, a half-hour radio show on KTOO FM in Juneau Alaska. Featuring folktales and fables from around the world – Grimm brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, the Arabian Nights, Norse Myths, Celtic fables, etc – Mahaffey hosted from January 2007 until August 2009 when she moved to Portland, Oregon.

Left Hanging opened with Mahaffey’s version of the tale of Scheherazade using storytelling and suspense to seduce and dissuade the King – who was rendered psychotic from the infidelity of his first wife – from beheading her at night’s end. Like Scheherazade, Mahaffey left the audience hanging so people would tune in the following week to find out what happened next. Besides ancient tales that have been told for thousands of years, Mahaffey also shared her original work – like the fable version of Ella Bandita and The Divorce of Vice and Virtue – as well as contemporary fiction.

Although Mahaffey found this form of storytelling to be a different experience from a live audience, she found it very rewarding and welcomed another way to express her love of the old myths and fairy tales that influenced her writing.

You can listen to a clip from the show here:

[audio mp3="http://freeflyingpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/02-Track-02.mp3"][/audio]



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