Category Archives: Giveaway

Fairy Tale Giveaway

FAIRY-TALE FORUM

For those of you who haven’t heard, author Shonna Slayton and I have started a shiny new group on Facebook called Fairy-Tale Forum. If you’re not part of it yet, please come on over and join! We have lots of fun stuff planned, and hope to see some fun fairy-tale-ish things from the rest of you as well!Beauty-and-the-Beast-fairy-tale

This week we have been having an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with editor and fairy-tale blogger Tahlia Kirk (Timeless Tales Magazine, anyone?!). She is so talented, I can’t even tell you. Please head over to our group and ask her whatever you’d like . . . she’s very responsive and so very fun to chat with!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST GIVEAWAY

Also, beginning today, we have an awesome giveaway in honor of the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie. Here’s what we’re giving away! I’m so thrilled!

Beauty and the Beast pinterest

Any thoughts on Beauty and the Beast in general? Where does it fall in your lineup of favorite fairy tales? Who are your favorite characters? What do you love (or not love!) about it? Will you be going to see the new movie?

 

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A New Chapter

Friends . . . It has been a while since I’ve blogged! I’ve missed you. We have some catching up to do!

A WISH MADE OF GLASS – AUDIOBOOK

First things first: A Wish Made of Glass has been made into an audio book!! If any of you follow my Facebook page, you will have seen my occasional posts on the exciting progress of the audiobook – what a fun process! I auditioned several narrators, and was absolutely thrilled with Keely, the lady I ended up choosing. Keely’s voice is mesmerizing and whimsical and just perfect for my little tale. I couldn’t be happier with her lovely rendition of it, and I think you’ll love it too.

I have several FREE audio books to give away, too (of course! You knew I would!). In order to receive one, you only have to do two little things for me: Write a review of it to post on Amazon, and share either your review or the link to the audio book on as many of your social media as you’re comfortable doing so. See . . . not so bad!

If you’d like to be considered for receiving a free code for the audio book, email me at ashleew@zoho.com and let me know why you’re interested, and what social media you’d plan on sharing the book through (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). Preference will be given to those who also have blogs they plan to share on. If you’ve already read A Wish Made of Glass – no worries! You still qualify for receiving a free copy!

NEW CHAPTERS

Life has thrown some huge changes at me this past year or so. Some good and some bad, including two big moves, a change in schools for my almost-10-year-old son, and a brand new job for me. Needless to say, amidst all these changes, my writing has had to sit on the back burner. That doesn’t mean that everything that has been happening to me hasn’t been grist for the mill . . . when life gets complicated and sad and stressful and unexpectedly joyful, that’s where the real stories come from! So, story ideas abound, and you’ll often find me scribbling away on the back of a receipt or church bulletin, to capture the next idea or snippet of an idea before it floats away.

About 3 or 4 months ago, when my son was having a hard night, I lay in bed with him and told him a bedtime story (something I haven’t done in ages!). That story, which was for his own courage and comfort, sparked something in me, and I couldn’t let it go. A few weeks after telling it to him, I began writing it. And just a couple weeks ago, I finished the rough draft of what is now a 14,000-word children’s book. Yes, it’s different from what I’m used to writing. But still fantasy, still full of fun and whimsy and even some heartbreak. I’m so excited to be able to do my preliminary revisions and then gather a few beta readers to help me on the next step to publishing this story.

Tell me what this near year has been like for you so far . . .?

The Fiercest Fight: Character Interview

I’m thrilled to announce the release of an awesome new book that you Christian fantasy lovers will not want to miss.  Adventure, danger, romance, dark creatures, life and death, and a strong and true message…you’ll find that and much more in The Fiercest Fight.  Also…that cover is simply amazing – I dare you to disagree with me!

Without further ado, here’s a fun and tantalizing character interview between the author, Brent King, and the protagonist of The Fiercest Fight, Tristan.

Character Interview with Tristan

Brent:
Hey! This is the first post in a blog tour to celebrate the release my debut fantasy novel, The Fiercest Fight. I can’t think of a better way to start than with an interview of my protagonist, Tristan.

Tristan:
*leans back in his chair and runs his fingers through his hair*
But I’m going to ask the first question: Why did you give me your red hair? You must have known how my schoolmates would tease me.

Brent:
Yeah, I did. But all you have to know is how to smile and say, “I know. Isn’t it cool?” It’s a small price to pay for such a distinguishing feature.

Tristan:
*shifts in his seat*
Easy for you to say! The guys were relentless.

Brent:
So is that what you hate worst about life?The Fiercest Fight Cover

Tristan:
Well, not exactly.
*removes sunglasses, shifts glowing eyes*
It used to be, but unfortunately, life got more complex. My issues now make my red hair trouble seem juvenile.

Brent:
*squints into Tristan’s eyes* It sounds like you’ve grown up a bit then.

Tristan:
I had to.

Brent:
Was it scary?

Tristan:
*slips sunglasses back on and nods*
Sometimes.
You would be scared too if you had to face…uh…do you believe in monsters?

Brent:
I-well…
*twirls a pencil in between fingers*
I’m not sure…

Tristan:
You would if you were me.

Brent:
I would?

Tristan:
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone?

Brent:
I thought I was asking the questions.
*eyes twinkle*

Tristan:
*lifts up hand and stares at it, flexing his fingers*
Well, to answer my own question then, I’ve hurt people pretty bad. I wish the beast had never come to me. He’s a fearsome—

Brent:
Beast?

Tristan:
*nods*
You wouldn’t understand. It’s too…unbelievable. Even Pastor Mike had a hard time at first.

Brent:
Are you talking about a wildcat or a wolf?

Tristan:
*rises and shakes his head*
Much worse than that! This creature would make you believe in God…or at least search for Him.

Brent:
I do believe in God. Do you?

Tristan:
Yes.
He offered me life or death. It wasn’t easy, but I chose death.

Brent:
*rises and shakes Tristan’s hand*
That’s a bit cryptic, but I wanted it that way.
*grins*

Tristan:
Thanks a lot!

Brent:
*calls after Tristan as he exits*
You’re welcome, and thanks for the chance to ask a few questions.

Well, there you have it: a few words with my protagonist. If you have any further questions for him, don’t hesitate to leave them below. I’ll make sure he answers them.

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FOLLOW THIS LINK TO ENTER INTO THE GREAT GIVEAWAY BEING OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR!

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Brent KingBrent King is a freelance writer of Christian fantasy and historical fiction from Lake Oswego, Oregon. Brent is a musician, a waterman, and has two sons, 20 and 23, who live in British Columbia, Canada. Brent’s first book, The Grip of Grace: God’s Hand in The Lord of the Rings, was published in January, 2014.

8 Things You May Not Know About Cinderella

Before I wrote my own version of Cinderella, I researched the “original” versions of it. Surprisingly, there are several, and this story I thought I knew so well actually goes back further than I ever dreamed.

I took several of the elements I liked the most from the old tales, added quite a few elements of my very own and, in the end, mixed them up and simply wrote the story I wanted to write. A Wish Made of Glass is not a strict retelling of Cinderella by any means. Still, it was fun to discover some of the unknown-to-me details of this apparently rather ancient story, not to mention some fun facts about items or things that happen within the tale. Here are a few you might find rather intriguing:

  1. The story of Rhodopis is considered to be the earliest version of the Cinderella story (published 7 BC). It’s about a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt.
  2. Ye Xian is a ninth century Chinese version of the Cinderella story. In it, the poor stepsisters and stepmother arerhodopis punished by being crushed to death by stones in a cave.
  3. It was common for servants and scullions to be soiled with ash in the days of the first Cinderella versions, partly because of the natural dirtiness of their work, and partly because they lived in cold conditions and had to draw very close to the fire to get warm.
  4. According to mechanical engineers, it would have taken specially-made glass, or what we call “safety glass” today, for Cinderella’s slippers to have withstood the strain of her walking and dancing, not to mention running from the ball at the stroke of midnight . . . Of course, we know that the slippers were made from magic, so of course there was never any real danger they’d break – right?
  5. One of the earlier versions of Cinderella was Charles Perrault’s rendition (Cindrillon, 1697), in which the famous slippers were made of glass. However, in the Brothers Grimm version (1812), the glass slippers are not glass at all, but “pure gold.”
  6. In Perrault’s version, Cinderella forgives her stepsisters. In the Brothers Grimm version, however, the stepsisters undergo cruel punishment in the form of blindness. If you think that’s bad, the first German version is worst of all, in which the stepsisters are condemned to dance with metal red-hot shoes until they are dead.
  7. Giambattista Basile’s Italian version of Cinderella (Cenerentola) includes fairies (yay!).
  8. Perrault put his own touch on the Cinderella story by choosing lizards to become the footmen. In his time, it was a known and laughed-at fact that footmen were lazy. The image of a lizard lying motionless in the sun apparently brought to Perrault’s mind the idea of a lazy footman. Perrault is also the one credited with adding the pumpkin and the fairy godmother to the original tale. What would the Cinderella story be without those classic touches?!

Do you know any details, ancient or modern, of the Cinderella tale that are little known or simply extremely interesting? What are they?

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Enter to win this FAIRY TALE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY

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We’re All Evil Stepchildren

Cinderella has never been one of my favorite fairy tales. Maybe that’s because its familiarity through the years has turned it a bit drab for me. Maybe it’s because the danger isn’t fierce enough or the stakes aren’t high enough.

Or maybe . . . maybe it’s because I can’t relate to a girl who is nothing more than a victim. A girl with a princess-like beauty whom never does anything wrong except in the eyes of her “evil” step-mother and stepsisters. A girl whose beauty and mere lack of evil are all it take for her to win not only a prince, but a kingdom.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely do things wrong. A lot. I say the wrong things, I’m clumsy, I’m impatient, I’m unkind, I’m none-too-beautiful. Basically, I’m human. How could I possibly write a story about a girl like Cinderella? I’m not qualified. I can’t understand her. I’ve never even been able to care much about her, try as I might.

So when considering retelling this story, I decided I wouldn’t write about Cinderella at all. Simple as that.

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

Instead, I wrote through the eyes of somebody I could understand: the stepsister (in my story, there’s just one). As a teen who went through some rough times, I often felt like the freak, the ugly, awkward girl, the misunderstood girl, the girl who used sarcasm like a shield, the girl people were uncomfortable having around because of her random bursts of emotion and sometimes rather brutal honesty. The girl . . . well, you get the picture.

Evil. Many times that’s how I felt. That’s what I believed people thought of me. That’s how they seemed to look at me. Therefore that’s what I began to believe I was in truth. Evil. Warped.

Then God stepped in. He had had enough.

“You’re not evil,” He whispered to me. “Your heart is beautiful and kind and loving. It is desirable to Me.”

The things I had never been able to see before because of my own blindness and self-loathing became apparent when God showed them to me through His eyes, through His grace. But then, that’s natural, isn’t it? That’s how it’s supposed to happen, the rescuing of our souls. My heart is beautiful because it’s God’s. My kindness and love are really only an extension of God’s own kindness and love.

When I began to think back on my own love story with God, I knew I must make it a part of this story I was writing. I have never been a Cinderella, ready from birth for Heaven. I needed redemption. I need redemption on a daily basis. But not from an evil stepmother or stepsisters. Not from any outside source of oppression. No, I needed saving from myself, and from the person Satan has plans for me to become. Because I am the evil stepsister. Or at least I was . . .

Those are the times God patiently reminds me that I am now His true daughter – a stepchild no longer.

When He took me in I became a princess in truth, and I share in a Kingdom more beautiful than any prince could have offered Cinderella. Right now I can’t always see that Kingdom, though it’s both in me and all around me. Sometimes I catch glimpses of it clearly, sometimes I only feel its nearness. But someday I plan on living there and claiming my happy-ever-after once and for all.

Tell me, what fairy tale could be better than that?

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You’ve got four more days to enter your name for this FAIRY TALE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY!

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER

The World of A WISH MADE OF GLASS

Instead of simply introducing the characters in A Wish Made of Glass, I thought I’d go a little further and give you a peek into some of the enchanting places and settings in my story as well. I saw them all so clearly as I wrote them, people and places and props alike, it was such a pleasure to find images that mirrored what was in my imagination already, and now show and describe them to you.

Welcome to the world of A Wish Made of Glass.

Isidore child

Isidore

Isidore

She is the one who tells this story. She is the stepsister, the outsider, the stormy and dark protagonist who is, in fact, her own worst enemy. Yet I’ve always found that, in both books and real life, people who have known the greatest pain and heartbreak have the largest capacity for joy and love.

Blessing1

Blessing

Blessing

Here is the girl on whom the actual Cinderella character is based. Although soft-hearted and soft-spoken, don’t be fooled. Blessing has real struggles of her own, too.

Anthony

Anthony2

Anthony

Isidore’s father’s heart has a huge amount of love for everyone, his daughter most of all. It’s a love that means so much to Isidore that she doesn’t want to share it with anyone – not even her beloved new stepsister, Blessing, much to her father’s heartbreak.

Hazel

Hazel

Hazel

After Isidore’s mother dies, her father hires a nursemaid: Hazel. Isidore wouldn’t have been the same without her dear maid, who becomes more of a mother and friend to her than anything else. This tale-weaving, long-suffering, opinionated lady supports Isidore through every heartache and joy.

The fey man

fey prince

Fey man

He’s ageless, as are all the fey folk. He’s completely unfamiliar, yet Isidore feels she knows him somehow. He’s one of the fey creatures who live hidden in the forest. I saw him clearly in my mind as I wrote him, although finding an image that looks like him was extremely difficult! I suppose this picture will have to suffice . . .

lord auren1

Lord Auren

Lord Auren

The mysterious young lord who holds a ball, rumored to be searching for a wife. He is young and kind-hearted and rather shy, but most assuredly knows his own mind and is a true lord of the manor.

Midland forest

Midland Forest

Midland forest

This is the place Isidore grew up, the place she first met and danced with the fey folk as a little girl. The trees here are, “squat, woven-trunked, whispering things” which make up much of the fabric of Isidore’s childhood, just as the fey themselves do. Green and moss-covered and full to the brim with whimsy and magic and memories, the Midland forest is a true fairy tale wood.

Northern forest

Northern forest

Northern forest

Different entirely from the Midland forest, the trees in the North are “straight and proud and tall. They wear their leaves like a gathering of giant kings donning their crowns.” Isidore soon learns the invisible paths in this wood, which lays just beyond the garden hedge of her new home. She wanders here often, seeking comfort when heartache starts to haunt her. The forest’s cold stillness echoes her own heart.

gardens5

Stepmother’s gardens

Stepmother’s gardens

Although Isidore may not be enchanted with her new home in the North, the gardens surrounding it are another story, especially after all the memories she and Blessing make together there, playing tag and whispering sisterly secrets.

Masquerade

masquerade2Oh, the masquerade. How fun, honestly? I’ve always wanted to go to one. Second best: writing about one. Lord Auren throws a masquerade in an attempt to find a bride. Does he succeed in finding the woman he could love among the masked attendees? You’ll have to read the story to find out . . .  In the meantime, check out the Pinterest board of masks I created, some of which inspired descriptions in my novella.

 

 

 

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Enter to win this fairy tale package giveaway (Aug 24-30) which includes a masquerade mask, a signed paperback copy of A Wish Made of Glass, and a set of 5 custom-painted enchanted forest greeting cards.

*Only US addressees may enter*

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

A Wish Made of Glass: RELEASE DAY!

A FAIRY TALE

A Wish Made of Glass is a story that has been through many changes. When I first began writing it, I wanted nothing more than a simple fairy tale told from an alternate point of view from the original Cinderella version I was loosely basing it upon. That’s what I got with the first draft. But, more than a year later, when I returned to the story, I saw the potential for an even deeper meaning. The changes I wanted to make were so extensive that, instead of revising the original version, I started from scratch, though I kept the main points of the original intact.

Many blissful, agonized, bleary-eyed, contented hours went into this little book, and though I enjoyed nearly every moment with these characters, I can’t say that I’m sad it is finally out of my hands and into yours!

You can find it at these locations now:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Kobo     Smashwords

RELEASE EVENTS

So what can you expect around here now that my novella has officially released? Well, here are a few things I’ve got planned.

Fun posts. Quite soon I plan on introducing you to not only the characters from A Wish Made of Glass, but the places, etc. of my story as well. Come back next week to see pictures and hear descriptions of my little fairy tale world.

Blog tour. This will run from August 24 – 30. I’ll be posting a link to it in my sidebar as soon as the final schedule of stops comes in. Keep your eyes open!

Giveaway. Beginning on the week of the blog tour, I’ll be giving away the items pictured below. If you’ve had a chance to read the book already, you’ll understand the meaning of each of them 🙂 One lucky winner will claim all of them at the end of the blog tour!

Giveaway item1

Set of 4 custom-painted fairy tale forest cards

Giveaway item2

Butterfly masquerade mask

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Paperback copy of A Wish Made of Glass

WANT TO HELP SUPPORT MY LAUNCH?

  • Purchase a copy of my book (of course!). Right now, both the eBook and the paperback are at a special discounted price which will run until around the first week of September. After that it will return to normal price. If you’ve already got a copy, consider purchasing one for a friend who may enjoy it, or even your local library.
  • After you read A Wish Made of Glass, leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Share about this novella with your friends through Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, your blog, or just plain word-of-mouth.

Thanks so much, friends, for the help you’ve already given up to now. You mean so much to me and I’m so excited to share my little book with you. Blessings.

Where Shadows Lie: An Interview with Tialla Rising

whereshadowslietour

Today I’m chatting with the super-talented author, Tialla Rising, about her new release, Where Shadows Lie. For any of you who have read the first of the series, Holding the Future Hostage, you’ll definitely want to pick up this exciting, long-awaited sequel!

Check out the rest of the blog tour stops at this link. And don’t forget to enter into the awesome giveaway!!

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This book is a sequel. How is it different from the first book in genre, theme, stakes, etc.?

I like to think that other than the main characters being the same, my books are completely different. The genre for Where Shadows Lie is Christian suspense, whereas the genre for my first book (Holding the Future Hostage) is Sci-Fi/Action-adventure. Therefore, while the non-stop action is consistent throughout both books, the setting and stakes are completely different. I made everything for Where Shadows Lie as realistic as I possibly could, while my first book definitely has a sci-fi twist.

Can you name something interesting about your main character which only YOU know about, which wasn’t mentioned in the book itself?

Shawn finds that he can relax and de-stress best when lifting weights or running. I can’t remember if I actually mentioned this in the book or not, but if I did, it was brief.

Describe two of your main characters in 3 words each.

Shawn: Determined, stubborn, conflicted.
Virginia: Optimistic, stubborn, loyal.

Was writing a sequel more or less difficult than writing the first book? Why?

Definitely more difficult. I believe it was much more difficult because of the realism, research, and balance this book required. My first book didn’t need as much realism or balance for the story to work, but they were a must for Where Shadows Lie. This resulted in numerous revisions and lots of red notes from my proofreaders, haha!

What’s in store next? How far will this series go, or will you begin a brand new project?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I do have an idea for a third book with these characters, but I’m not certain whether I’ll write it next or not. I didn’t plan on this becoming a series, but it might be nice to make it into a trilogy. I also have ideas for a children’s book and other novels. At this moment, I’m taking a few months’ break from writing, though I’m sure I won’t be able to stay away for long.

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His dark past haunts him. His new life taunts him.

where shadows lie coverAfter twenty years in the gangs and a hefty prison sentence, an early release gives Shawn the opportunity to turn his life around.

But that isn’t so easy when gangs are involved.

Only a year into his fresh start, the gang catches on and makes Shawn’s life miserable. After all, once a gang member, always a gang member. His very blood belongs to them.

Threats become promises. Whispers become actions. Words become bullets. He must fight – not only for his life, but to save his honor, prove his integrity, and protect the woman he loves.

An ember of hope glows in the darkness, strengthening his resolve. Will her support and his determination be enough to dispel the shadows of his past?

A story of discovery and faith, love and perseverance.

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Tialla Rising is a Christian young woman living with her family in the mountains of Arizona. She loves to write and will passionately spend hours long into the night developing her stories. Like most writers, Tialla fills her spare time with reading from her favorite fantasy and mystery genres. A good book, a stormy day, and an iced coffee comprise her favorite moments.
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Lines from my WIP and a Party Invitation for YOU

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.

WIP

The following lines are from the novel that is now in the hands of my beta readers, so they are definitely subject to change. But in the meantime, maybe they’ll give you a small glimpse into my story, since it may be a while before the rest of it is seen …

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Aylah looked at her husband, light flickering in her dark eyes. “It’s a Gift, Eoghan, I know it.” Her voice was breathless with a timid excitement.

But a deep frown creased Eoghan’s face. He stood staring down at his son, who was frozen with the knowledge he had given himself away. Then his good hand shot out and took hold of Frayne’s arm. He jerked him to his feet. Frayne was fifteen, and already nearly as tall as his da. They stood eye to eye.

Eoghan’s voice was a low growl. “How long?”

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Ok, so that was a very tiny glimpse. But you were introduced to the main character, Frayne, and in the throes of a fairly crucial scene, actually. So that’s something! I never like tagging people for these types of things, but I will leave it in your hands … if you’d like to share 7 lines starting from line 7 of page 7 in your WIP, go for it. Comment with your post link below and I’ll be sure to visit and read your lines!

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On another, completely unrelated, note … have you heard about Nadine Brandes’ 6-month-anniversary release party for her novel, A Time to Die? Well, it’s happening soon! March 31, in fact. I will be a special guest at the party (so excited!!), promoting The Word Changers (and giving away 2 Kindle copies of it). And Angie Brashear (Of the Persecuted) will be there, too!

You won’t want to miss it! Consider yourself invited! Click here to visit the party page 🙂

party

Ice Maidens in Real Life

This is a guest post by E. Kaiser Writers, whose winter fairy tale trilogy, Thaw, has just released. Be sure to check out her books, her site, and other information at the end of this post! Also, enter your name in a great giveaway (link also below) for the ARC of Winter’s Child!!

I’m so excited to read her series, based on the classic fairy tale of the Snow Queen. It looks truly enchanting!

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In the newly released Thaw books the princess Ilise is a “winter’s child”, an answer to her barren parents’ long years of prayer for a baby.

When they share a moment of closeness amid their sorrow and build a baby out of snow, they whisper secret plans that can never come true of the daughter they will never have.

“I would name her Ilise.” The king says, “I read it in a book. It is from the southern lands, and it means blessed.”

The queen drops a sweet tear on the snow baby in her arms, and the little snow figure disappears.E. Kaiser promo

Then a soft voice of the Winter Angel tells them that their prayers have been answered, and their Ilise, their blessed one, will be born next winter. “And she will be a special child.”

Overcome with joy, thus starts a fairy-tale that has unexpected results for the royal couple.

Their child is pale, perfect, and lovely. Studious and proper, she is does everything just as she ought and there is no room for improvement on this delightful gift.

But as her parents cuddle and coddle her, just how “special” the Angel meant becomes clearer with the years, and she goes from tracing the frost on the window to making it, from showing off her talents with pony ice sculptures to ice automatons, to the full blown fortress of ice that she eventually immures herself completely inside.

Her story is too long to share here, but she is not the only one who freezes those around her and  shuts herself off from the world.

There are those among us, though born of less fairy-tale means, that have the power to psychologically “freeze” those around us, and we too retreat into our towers and refuse to come out.

Although in the real world this has limited repercussions compared to Ilise’s dramatic problems; it is still not healthy and we need to find ways to release the grip of ice on our hearts and learn “how to thaw”.

I know this because I am/was one of them. A middle child finds it easy to feel forgotten, and a quiet one simply retreats further within.

I was “the smart one”, so while I couldn’t make others feel “put in their place” through my athletic prowess or my charismatic personality, growing up I was often tempted to “put the chill” on someone simply by upstaging their incorrect information/ or pointing out a truer fact that cut their argument off at the knees.

My family is rife with choleric personalities, so for someone who hates conflict (which I truly do) I found myself in that kind of hot seat quite a lot over the years. Since I didn’t have the roaring fire of a powerful personality on my side, I had to reach for other ammunition, and since logic and facts were respected in my house, my intellect became my archery squad.

Many of the fights never should have happened, but like most families, our parents were elsewhere and childish tempers raged… even well into the teens. (Actually, cross that out, because they still do from time to time.)

Anyway, my point is that where some of my siblings grew fire, I became an expert on ice. I would shut down, tune out, and my words were my whip as I responded to my perceived attackers. I never let them see they’d hurt me, because that would give them the victory. What I don’t know is if I ever hurt them. One of those things we’ll never know, the “might have been”.

(To my credit I was always the “peacemaker” of the family, so I didn’t let my strengths carry me away as drastically as I could have, since I was always in the back of my mind calculating how hard to recover from each barbed word would be.

The ones with lethal hit points I generally choked back and kept in the arsenal.)

I always thought of myself as the “good guy”. After all, it wasn’t me raising my voice and getting red in the face. My pulse would race, but my lid never flipped.

It wasn’t till I was in my late teens that I began to see just how damaging the “cool cucumber” bazooka could actually be; not so much to others… but myself.

The more instances I saw of my kind, the more I noticed it could get very out of hand; so distanced from the world that some of us had quit feeling anything. Or had at least convinced themselves so hard that we believed it.

As I assessed other people I met, and it became evident that whatever reason we had originally started to “shut down and tune out” as a defense mechanism was generally long gone, but the response was still there, shutting us down.

E. Kaiser promo2Sometimes we were snippy and trigger-happy, jerking off shots at anyone below us within reach of our “freeze”. We were showing the world that we were better than it. We were untouchable. We didn’t need friends and we didn’t care if you knew it.

Even with a general desire to be liked and accepted, our “ice veins” couldn’t be thawed, and our habits were chilling everyone around us.

Others of our ilk had turned inward to the point that we stopped interacting at all, maintaining a stony-cold silence throughout any event; distanced by a gulf so wide that mountains might as well have towered in it.

As an outsider I could see that what while we were cutting ourselves off from present joys, those past hurts were trapped inside our ice towers with us, as stinging today as they were the first time we faced them.

As many different reasons we all had, almost all of them were in our far past. Whether the insults were real or imagined, from a wrong turn in a basically normal childhood or from real abuse in various forms, we were all now trapped by the very thing we believed was protecting us.

And we had no clue how to melt it and step out of that cold prison.

I didn’t. I remember wishing I could react in a different way, even picturing the whole thing, but in the end I didn’t have the courage or the strength to even try.

As I studied our collective problem more and more I finally came down to a base, fundamental truth.

It was a form of pride that made us unable to release our cages.

And all pride is selfishness… and so the first step was fighting myself, the worse parts of me that whispered “They hate you anyway, don’t give them a chance to hurt you.”

“Nobody likes you, and why would they? Show them you don’t need to like them, either!”

The path to a better self is always strewn with ugly battles… and those various monsters seem to rear up again and again long after you think they’re dead. But in the end they do get dead-er, and the inner warrior grows strong enough to withstand their weakened darts of doubt and shame.

We “ice maidens” and “ice men”; we have so many things going for us. Invariably, we are strong, determined people with intelligent minds and an ability to focus that can be a massive benefit. But when our strengths are used against us, we flounder and freeze into a pillar that is stuck in the middle as life blossoms all around us.

It still hurts when my attempts to be friendly are shot down, or when someone I love says something that stings. But I’ve learned how to thaw, and that’s allowed me to be open to new warmth as it shows up, as well as the old hearth-fires that bond family members in palpable affection.

I don’t know how many others out there share my strengths, and my weaknesses, but I’d love to be able to touch their hearts and inspire them to melt, too.

The universal laws apply to this as with any strangle-hold selfishness may be exhibiting itself through; and so the same rules can kill it back:

Sincerely apologize as soon as possible after you realize selfishness scored a point.

A true, authentic apology is so hard to do, but think of it as kicking selfishness in the teeth. I tell you what, that little monster takes a major hit every time you go the distance to genuinely apologize and then make it right with a honest heart, and the next time the scenario rolls around it hasn’t got nearly as much power over you, by a long shot.

Ask those you know can help, when you need it.

I’ve learned how to ask for affection when I’m feeling distanced and like no one likes me, instead of allowing selfishness to say “If they loved me, they’d know.” Even though we may pride ourselves on reading others ( a trait “cool cucumbers” major in) a ton of people aren’t that observant. (Besides, give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you don’t know all the time, as much as you think you know.)

And finally, be open to the idea of rejection/pain.

Westley says “Life is pain, Highness. Anybody who tells you different is selling something.” E. Kaiser promo3

While that may be true, life isn’t all pain, and if we run into hurtful spots, a better way to deal with it instead of clamming up and scrambling back into our tower is to say “I can weather a bit of pain. This isn’t going to kill me, I am stronger than this.”

Growing up rural, in the mountains and plains, on farms and ranches, we kids got used to pulling splinters our of our hands, skidding our knees across gravel, falling off of horses and getting our toes stepped on by hoofs large and small. The first time shocked us, but we soon adapted and would be more concerned about getting on with our plans or bragging rights than how much it hurt.

Why can’t we be that way with emotional hurt?

In the end, we should be in such a hurry to do our next thing the “slights and stings of fate” should be no more than a temporary knock.

And finally, we should always look to our Great King as our source of importance, not whether the world likes us or not, approves of us or not, or even loves us or not. The more we battle selfishness down into its hole and put a lid on it, the clearer we are able to see that our Maker is the only One who matters… and our relationship with Him is our best and greatest alley.

And with Him we can never be alone.

(P.S. Disclaimer: those out there that are “Fire hearts” have their own problems, and they need to take care of that. Don’t let their behavior tilt your boat… we are responsible for our own vessel sailing straight, so just do our best with “fire ships” that could temporarily sink us. Charting a course for clear water is not the same as freezing over and sitting completely still. Please don’t confuse the two! )

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So what do you think? Elizabeth shares some great honesty and wisdom with us, doesn’t she? It’s difficult to find that fine balance between hot and cold – I think we all struggle with that! The very things we use to protect ourselves can, in the end, damage us. But with God’s help we can see past those things to His true purpose for our lives.

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E. Kaiser author picE. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mountains, the Smoky Mountains, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and… authoress!

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Find her books here:

Winter’s Child    Winter Queen

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