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!
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!
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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 . . .?
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.
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?
You’ve got four more days to enter your name for this FAIRY TALE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, 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.
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*
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!
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.”
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.
Sometimes 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.
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! )
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.
E. 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!
Connect with her here:
Find her books here:
Oh, yes … but you can’t see it on my site! At least, not today.
The cover reveal is being hosted by the talented and lovely authoress, Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Head over to her blog to see the new cover for The Word Changers, and to enter your name into the giveaway for a signed paperback of the book … one sporting its new cover, of course!
The entire process was a new and thrilling and somewhat daunting one, truth be told. Working so closely with the artist who designed it was an eye-opening experience. What a wonderful thing to watch the concept in my head brought to life by someone else in a way even more lovely than I imagined!
You can leave comments over on Anne Elisabeth’s blog, or you can head back over here to let me know what you think of it. To be honest, I’m pretty giddy about it, myself 🙂
So, my wonderful reviewers, the time has come to pull the names from the hat – literally 🙂 (Does it make it more fun if I tell you it was a pirate hat?!)
My little Bug helped me out in drawing the names, and here’s what they are!!
The winner of the Amazon gift card is …..
And the winner of the memory authors game is …..
Congrats, you two! If both of you would e-mail me, that would be great. For the winner of the game, I will need a physical address to send it to. Winner of the gift card, I will try my best to get it sent to you as soon as I can. I warn you, I’ve never bought an e-gift card before (I’ve led a very sheltered life …), so here’s hoping I can do it right and get it to you without any hitches!
As for the rest of you, I was tempted to spend my vacation savings and buy every one of you a gift, because I’m so thankful for you! But for now you’ll have to accept no more than my heartfelt thanks, and of course an Internet hug or two … *hug!!*
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Once upon a time, there was an author who was very thankful for all the support she had received from her readers and reviewers. As grateful as she was, she knew that “thank you,” and lots of smiles (which no one saw anyway) could only go so far….
So she decided to give something away … no, make that two somethings. They weren’t much, but they at least said “thank you” in less of a virtual way, and in a bit more of a physical way.
Here’s the first something:
Because who in the world can’t use an Amazon gift card??!!
And here’s the second something:
Make no mistake, this game has more to it than an ordinary memory game. You can become an author, publisher or editor (um, yes!), you can create your own personal library, and you can challenge other players to a literary duel. Too much bookish fun to handle, really! If you want to travel to Missouri, I’ll even play it with you ….
Here’s the Giveaway Info
WHO QUALIFIES? Those who have read The Word Changers and posted a review of it on Amazon.
WHEN DOES THE GIVEAWAY END? It will run from today until Tuesday, November 25th (and yes, I changed the original dates I had decided on because I didn’t want it to run through Thanksgiving!).
HOW DO YOU ENTER? Simply e-mail me with the link to your Amazon review of The Word Changers, (ashleew(at)zoho(dot)com), or comment with the review link below.
HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF YOU WON? I will announce the two winners here on my blog first thing on November 26th (that’s a Wednesday, and yes, it’s the day before Thanksgiving!).
Perhaps you are in the middle of reading The Word Changers, or maybe you haven’t got a chance to start it at all yet … No fear! You have a week to finish it, write your Amazon review, and be eligible for this giveaway!
I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, readers and reviewers, for your taking the time from reading books whose authors you have at least heard of … and agreeing to read and review mine instead! 😉