Combination Station: When Legends Collide | Guest Post by Danielle Shipley

September 15, 2017 Guest Post 3

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

I’d like to welcome Danielle Shipley to the blog today! Danielle has written multiple fairytale retellings (which she will be talking about on Bonnie’s blog) as well as reimagined British mythology, what she is talking about here today!


Combination Station: When Legends Collide

by Danielle Shipley

Once upon a time in a Renaissance Faire, my muse handed me an idea: What if that Robin Hood over there wasn’t just a modern-day actor, but the actual, ages-old outlaw himself?

An impossible notion. Or is it?

After all, the tales of England’s criminal hero aren’t completely down-to-earth. Sure, there are the archery contests, stave and sword fights, and robbing from the rich to give to the poor – all good, clean, mostly realistic fun. But some versions of the legend also feature a touch of magic or pagan mysticism – as in the “Robin of Sherwood” television series of the ‘80s, or Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy. For every taleteller suggesting that Robin Hood was a real, historical man, there’s another happy to hint that he was more than a man; a woodland spirit, a forest god, or at least someone favored of that ilk.

So, my muse and I brainstormed, suppose a 21st-century fairground of period-inspired fantasy housed a 12th-century Robin, and a handful of his Merry Men to boot. Would their legend have magic enough to get them there? Maybe, maybe not. But there was another legend that surely would.

On those same British Isles, it is said that a great king once ruled in the idyll of Camelot. It is said also that, beyond his kingdom’s catastrophic fall, he would someday in future reign again. A not unlikely theory, in a story of wizards and dragons, enchantresses and bespelled swords in stone, and not a few somewhat super-powered knights. If anyone could live immortally in a Renaissance Faire, it would be King Arthur Pendragon.

“Well then,” spake the muse. “Why not combine the tales?”

And thus was born a new legend: The Outlaws of Avalon.

I took my favorite bits from Robin Hood lore – the showboating bandits with their good-natured fellowship among the feel of an ancient forest – and threw them together with a gold-hearted king and his heroes of the Round Table, with a little help from a micromanaging Merlin and morally ambiguous Morganne le Fey. All that, plus a minstrel blown in from afar to usher in a new age of adventure.

Each legend on its own has endured for centuries, retold in any number of ways – from lighthearted comedies, to gritty tragedies, to adaptations that encompass both. Together, it’s a mythic beast that, some part of me insists, could still be somehow real, hidden somewhere in plain sight.

Impossible, yes. But what of that? As a Merry Man of mine once said, “There is a lot of overlap, I’ve found, between the truth and the impossible.”

About the author: Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

About the “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 1): Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band.

But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

(Look for the final book of the trilogy to release on October 3rd!)


The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale by Danielle Shipley
Series: Outlaws of Avalon #1
Published by Ever On Word on July 12, 2016
Amazon • Add to Goodreads

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.


About Danielle Shipley

Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Outlaws of Avalon

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