Monday, March 27, 2017

The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan @SDSXXTours





The
Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan
by
Steve Wiley
Genre:
Fantasy

"Intelligent,
Enchanting, Playful" ~ Publishers Weekly
Warning:
Content may be deemed offensive by Polish Indians, vice presidents of
something, my wife, Finbar Finnegan's wife, LinkedIn, little kids who
think this book is for little kids, Thumbelina, Brown Liners,
mermaids, and the wind.
Growing up and getting trapped in adult life is something that most people
eventually face, but while reading The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca
Finnegan, a charming and magical book by Steve Wiley, it is almost
possible to forget about the inexorable progress of time. With a main
character who is teetering on the edge of forgetting about magic
forever, this novel is a touching and thought-provoking ride through
nostalgia, memory and the promises of youth. Wiley's sharp,
tongue-in-cheek style of writing makes the pages fly and the Chicago
skyline makes a stunning backdrop for this mystical romp.
In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the
city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an
alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind,
and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.
When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long
forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when
Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure through
the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with
gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess
rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those
elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown
up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the
verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with
Francesca, and a reacquaintance with the boy he once was, to save
him.
Half of the proceeds from this book are donated to Chicago Public Schools.
For more information, visit fairytalechicago.com.

Ch. 1 Fairyism

There is magic in the city.
            When Rich Lyons was a little boy, he learned of the magic from an old, cockeyed, Captain Hook–looking magician. The old man sat alone at a table for two outside a neighborhood bar every summer day, all day, always with a glass of twinkling whiskey. He said the twinkle had once been in his eye, but had blown out one windy day and splashed right into the whiskey. Rich liked how the twinkle twinkled in the whiskey. He liked it so much, he asked the old man if he could have it. The man told Rich he didn’t need it, because he already had a twinkle of his own, and besides, that particular twinkling whiskey tasted like shit, worse than Malört1, if that’s possible.
            “You be careful,” the old man warned, “because in the city of wind, a twinkle may blow out. The wind here, it twirls and sings like a music-box ballerina. It plays tricks and tells stories like an old-man magician. Like me, like this …”
            And so, the old man performed tricks for Rich and regaled him with city folklore and fantasy. He said the Great Chicago Fire was arson, started by a fire-breathing dragon from the Fulton River District who was fed up with the cold winters. He said the Chicago River started flowing backward when a giant sea serpent sneezed so powerfully, it changed the direction of the current. He said the sky was purple (not black) above the city because a wicked witch had stolen all the black for her cats and bats and witch hats.
            Rich’s favorite story was one about the L trains, and how each had come to be named for a color. The old man said the colors arrived when the first skyscrapers did. Before then, all the trains were the same dull brown. On the day the first skyscraper went up, a rainbow, unused to encountering buildings so high in the sky, accidentally crashed into it. When the rainbow crashed, each of its individual colors went splattering in all directions. Some landed on the L trains and stained them. The only train to miss a color was the Brown Line, because, the old man said, it was offline for repairs.
            The old man also said there was one line, a secret line, that got a splash of lavender.
            One day, Rich asked the old man if he could use his magic to tell fortunes. The old man said, well, hell, of course he could, it was a matter of simple city magic. Rich asked if he might hear his own fortune. He wanted to know what he would be when he grew up.
            The old man told Rich there wasn’t much he wouldn’t be when he grew up. He would be a father, a husband, an uncle, a brother, a friend. He would be a ghost in the graveyard. He would be a vice president of something. He would be a pisser in the pancake batter. He would be a reveler-adventurer. He would be a hider and seeker. He would be a rocket man. A businessman.
            And, he would be a rich man.

1 Disgusting alcoholic spirit, occupied by the evil spirit of a bootlegger, who was bootlegged himself. Available only in Chicago.


Steve is a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and purveyor of fairy
stories. He grew up in and around Chicagoland, where he still lives
with his wife and two kids. He has been published in an array of
strange and serious places, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in
Washington, D.C., to Crannóg magazine in Galway, Ireland. The
Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is his first book. He has an
undergraduate degree in something he has forgotten from Illinois
State University and a graduate degree in something equally forgotten
from DePaul University. Steve once passionately kissed a bronze
seahorse in the middle of Buckingham Fountain. Seriously, he did.  












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