Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cover Reveal -- The Last Enchanter


The Last Enchanter 



by Laurisa White Reyes


One year and ten days ago--right here on Project Mayhem--I posted a review and giveaway HERE of The Rock of Ivanore, book one of the Celestine Chronicles series. Today, I am excited to share the cover reveal of book two: The Last Enchanter
The Last Enchanter is scheduled to be released October 15th, 2013. The paperback version of The Rock of Ivanore will also be released that day.

I can't wait to see where this truly EPIC story will take us this time!


Synopsis:
Months have passed since Marcus and Kelvin succeeded in their quest to find the Rock of Ivanore. Kelvin is living as royalty in Dokur, and Marcus is studying magic with Zyll. When Fredric is murdered and Kelvin becomes king, Zyll and Marcus head for Dokur in hopes of protecting Kelvin from meeting the same fate, though it quickly becomes apparent that none of them are safe, and Marcus has had disturbing visions of Zyll's death. With the help of his old friends Clovis and Bryn, joined by new friend Lael--a feisty girl in search of her mother--Marcus uncovers a powerful secret that will change the course of his life forever.


And as a special treat . . . 

THE PROLOGUE

  
Lord Fredric, ruler of Dokur, stared out his window toward the sea. The sounds of the cutting and hammering of wood, and of men shouting came to him on a crisp salty breeze. Below in the bay, Dokur’s navy was busy rebuilding their ships. Eight months earlier Fredric’s own son had led the Hestorians to these very shores, and Dokur had nearly fallen by their swords. But soon these ships would set sail for the mainland and take revenge on them.

Fredric heard the door behind him open. The gentle clinking of crystal against silver was the only introduction the visitor needed.

            “Is it time already?” Fredric asked without turning. “I would like a little wine to soothe my nerves before bed.”

            Arnot filled a goblet and handed it to his Lord with a slight bow. Fredric downed the contents, and then returned the empty goblet.

“I fear I have grown too old for battle,” said Fredric, crossing the room to his bed. “These eyes have witnessed too much bloodshed, too much suffering.”

            He held out his arms while the sable-skinned attendant removed his royal robe and replaced it with a linen nightshirt. Once Fredric was dressed, Arnot went to the bed and pulled back the covers. “Your bed is prepared, my Lord.”

            Fredric rested his hands on the edge of the mattress. “My stomach,” he said. “It bothers me so.”

            “Perhaps you should rest, Sire,” replied Arnot.

            Fredric rubbed his stomach and then raised his hand to his forehead where beads of sweat had formed.

            “I am not well tonight,” he continued, sighing. “But such is to be expected at my age.”

            Suddenly, Fredric clenched his teeth together and his hands balled into fists against the mattress. He groaned as his entire body began to shake. Fredric grabbed the quilt in both fists and pulled with such force that the fabric tore. A moment later he dropped to his knees, gasping for air.

            “I am in pain,” he cried. “Fetch my doctor!”

            Arnot remained where he stood with his back to the colorful tapestry that hung ceiling to floor against the wall. He stared at Fredric with cold eyes.

            “Arnot,” called Fredric, reaching for the attendant with both hands. “Please help me!”

            A faint smile appeared on Arnot’s lips—so faint that Fredric wondered if his eyes were playing tricks on him. When the attendant finally crossed the room to the door, Fredric felt relieved that help would be found. He lay down on the floor, too weak now to lift himself into the bed.

            “Tell my doctor to hurry,” he whispered. “Tell him I am very ill.”

            Arnot looked back at Fredric. The smile on his lips was now unmistakable, and there was a look of pleasure in his face.

            “You are not ill,” he said coolly. “You have been poisoned.”

            Then Arnot slipped through the door and shut it quietly and securely behind him.

*********************************** 


Feel free to stalk Laurisa White Reyes at the following spots:

 
Add The Last Enchanter to your Amazon wish list HERE
Find it at B&N HERE 
Add it to your Goodreads list HERE 

 

Monday, April 29, 2013

E.L. Konigsburg - Reading Beyond FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER

FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER is one of the classics of modern children’s literature. When I heard that author E.L Konigsburg passed away, I remembered how very much I loved The Mixed Up Files book as a child. I still think it would be amazing it would be to spend days in a museum with no one else around, and if I had a mystery to solve, all the better. Thinking about this book made me realize I’d never read anything else she wrote, and that led me on a reading journey.
First, some interesting facts about Ms. Konigsburg. The “E. L”. stood for Elaine Lobl. She had a degree in chemistry. (I’m married to a chemist, so I found this very interesting. The last thing my husband would ever do is write fiction.)  She was also the only person to both win the Newbury and be a runner up in the same year. In 1968, The FROM THE MIXED UP FILES book was the winner, and her other book, JENNIFER, HECATE, MACBETH, WILLIAM MCKINLEY, AND ME, ELIZABETH, was awarded a Newbury Honor. A side note-I doubt if that title would fly today!
While I was reading some of her other books, I realized something that marks them as different from much of middle grade fiction today. Many of them are written with more than one point of view, and those points of view include adults. These days, it’s hard to convince some people that kids will read books with adult POVs included.
She wrote more than a dozen books, and below are two I enjoyed.

THE MYSTERIOUS EDGE OF THE HEROIC WORLD
From the publisher’s description: “Amedeo Kaplan has a secret, a dream: More than anything in the world, he wants to discover something-a place, a process, even a fossil-some treasure that no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would also like to discover a true friend to share these things with.
William Wilcox seems like an unlikely candidate for friendship: an aloof boy who is all edges and who owns silence the way other people own words:. When Amedeo and William find themselves working together on a house sale for Amedeo’s eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender, Amedeo has an inkling that both his wishes may come true. For Mrs. Zender’s mansion is crammed with memorabilia of her long life, and there is a story to go with every piece. Soon the boys find themselves caught up in a particular story…and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. It’s a story that will take them to the edge of what they know about heroism and the mystery of the human heart.”

THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY (a Newbury winner in 1997)
From the publisher’s description: “How had Mrs. Olinski chosen her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team?

It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski's team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen?
It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan's grandmother and Nadia's grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued.

Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen.”

These books wouldn't be the easiest to read for struggling readers, but I can see them appealing to kids who like quirkiness, along the lines of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, and who can keep track of the multiple POVs. As for me, I’m happy to have more of Ms. Konigsburg’s books to discover.

~ Dee Garretson

Friday, April 26, 2013

Choosing Words Wisely by Dawn Lairamore



Like a lot of writers, I’m fond of my thesaurus. I feel like I’m getting repetitive if I use the same words over and over again, so I start looking for new ways to convey what I want to say. There’s danger in this. Stephen King, in his memoir On Writing, states the first word that comes to mind is usually the right choice. We’re striving for clarity and smooth reading, after all. Forcing yourself to make word choices that aren’t natural or intuitive can really bog down your writing.

I think a good example of this is a work by Ernest Vincent Wright. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. Mr. Wright was obviously a man up to an enormous challenge, and I think he must have had a great sense of humor to boot. Back in the 1930s, he decided he was going to write an entire novel without ever using the letter “e”—the most frequent letter in the English language. Mr. Wright claimed he actually tied down the “e” key on his typewriter so he wouldn’t accidentally use it. I imagine he had to keep his thesaurus handy, since many of his first word choices were probably off limits. (Past tense also threw him for a loop—“walked” had to become “did walk,” etc. Nor could he use the words “he,” “she,” or “they.”) And Mr. Wright succeeded at this incredibly ambitious task, publishing Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter “E” in 1939. But did his story suffer from the limited word choice? You be the judge. Here are the opening paragraphs:


If Youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically, you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport.
Up to about its primary school days a child thinks, naturally, only of play. But many a form of play contains disciplinary factor. "You can't do this," or "that puts you out," shows a child that it must think, practically, or fail. Now, if, throughout childhood, a brain has no opposition, it is plain that it will attain a position of "status quo," as with our ordinary animals. Man knows not why a cow, dog, or lion was not born with a brain on a par with ours; why such animals cannot add, subtract, or obtain from books and schooling, that paramount position which Man Holds today.
But a human brain is not in that class. Constantly throbbing and pulsating, it rapidly forms opinions; attaining an ability of its own; a fact which is startlingly shown by an occasional child "prodigy" in music or school work. And as, with our dumb animals, a child's inability convincingly to impart its thoughts to us, should not class it as ignorant.
Upon this basis I am going to show you how a bunch of bright young folks did find a champion; a man with boys and girls of his own; a man of so dominating and happy individuality that Youth is drawn to him as is a fly to a sugar bowl. It is a story about a small town. It is not a gossipy yarn; nor is it a dry, monotonous account, full of such customary "fill-ins" as "romantic moonlight casting murky shadows down a long, winding country road." Nor will it say anything about tinklings lulling distant folds; robins carolling at twilight, nor any "warm glow of lamplight" from a cabin window. No. It is an account of up-and-doing activity; a vivid portrayal of Youth as it is today; and a practical discarding of that worn-out notion that "a child don't know anything."


If you’re interested in reading further, the entire novel can be read here. I’ll confess, I’ve never made it past chapter one.

What are your best tips when it comes to word choices?

photo credit: etharooni via photopin cc

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Where Your Books Can Take You!!






As I write this, I'm sitting in seat 22E on Emirates Airlines, a mere three hours away from Dubai, super jet-legged, but even more excited! I was invited to speak at the Sharjah International Book Fair, which is the reason for this unforeseen adventure my husband and I are about to embark on, and it all started with one single idea that I sunk my teeth into, pulled my hair out over, and defended as if it were my own child. 





My first book, Nightshade City, started as picture book, but quickly morphed into a middle-grade novel of good versus evil, in a cutthroat world of underground rats.  As many of you know, it was an upward battle getting my first book published, so to be on my way to another country--another world--all due to that first book, it puts everything into perspective. I won't say I always believed in myself, but I believed in my book, and just kept going, no matter what boulders were dropped in front of me, and trust me, there were plenty of those.  Now I'm onto new writing ventures and in the process of editing the final book of the Nightshade Chronicles, Lords of Trillium. It's strange to think that I'm working on the final book, when, for the longest time, I was unsure if there would be a first book. 



In terms that make sense to even in this late hour (3AM in Dubai), start with an idea, build on it, believe in it, don't give up on it, and see where it can take you.



Now please enjoy my super cheesy video and ignore that uber dorky freeze frame of my face. ;)


video

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chris Eboch on Battling Writer’s Block


If you’ve been writing for a while, chances are you’ve gotten stuck at some point. It’s like walking to the edge of a cliff, and being unable to take the next step. You’re stuck, and there’s nothing to do but walk away—perhaps to the sofa, to spend time with a good book. A book that is already written, by someone else.

Most writers face writer’s block at times. Even famous, successful and prolific writers struggle with writer’s block. They have just figured out how to get past it more quickly. Writers block can hit in different ways and for different reasons. I’m going to talk about one problem that can cause writers block, and how you might deal with it.

 Trouble Moving Forward.

Let’s say you’ve written your first paragraph, or page, or scene. Perhaps you’ve even gotten pretty far in the story. But then you get stuck. For me, this usually means that I don’t know what happens next. I may know where the story is going in the long term, but I’m not sure about the next piece.

If this happens, here’s a trick that might help.

What will your character do in the next five minutes? That’s right, just five minutes. It’s easy enough to figure out that. Of course, sometimes the character doesn’t do anything interesting in the next five minutes. Keep looking ahead. What happens after that? And after that?

Here’s an example from my children’s novel, The Well of Sacrifice. The heroine, a Mayan girl named Eveningstar, has been captured by the evil priest and sentenced to death by sacrifice. What does she do? Well, she’ll try to escape, of course. How? There’s not much she can do during the day, with guards and other people all around. I’ll skip ahead.

Now it’s night time. Does she quietly go to sleep? Of course not! She’ll be thrown into the well of sacrifice in the morning, so she’s too anxious to sleep. She’ll sit up, listening to the guards outside her door. She’ll wait for her opportunity.

What opportunity? What if one of the guards leaves for a few minutes, perhaps to go to the bathroom. With only one guard outside, she has a chance. She’ll look around for a weapon....

And my character is off and running, on the next part of her adventure.

Don’t Forget Your Villain

You can also try looking at the action from another point of view—that of the villain. If you have a human antagonist, what is that person doing to foil your hero? Whether it’s an a bully at school, an evil sorcerer, or parents who “only want the best” for their child, keep them active in the story, causing trouble.

I used this technique for my romantic suspense novel, Rattled, where the main characters were trying to stay a step ahead of the bad guys while searching for a long-lost cave full of treasure. They managed to ditch the villains and get out into the New Mexico wilderness. Now they’re searching for the cave, but is that dramatic enough? It certainly won’t be if they just find the treasure and live happily ever after. The story could start to drag.

Then I checked in with my villain. Was he just sitting around waiting for the heroes to act? No! He had plans of his own, plans to set a trap... and then I knew what would happen next.

Taking the Right Kind of Break

Many of these tricks require thinking first, before you start writing. You might find it easier to do that away from your desk. If the computer is starting to feel like an enemy, step away from it for awhile. Try jotting your notes longhand on a piece of paper, or even just thinking about your story while you fold laundry or ride your exercise bike. I find that taking a walk helps me sort out my thoughts. I often take a tape recorder along and dictate into it, but even just thinking about the problem can help.

You may need to experiment to find your own techniques for overcoming writer’s block. Some writers go to a library, cafĂ© or park to write. Some find that ideas come to them in the shower. (You can get a waterproof tablet and pen or shower crayons to write on the walls so you don’t lose ideas.) Or perhaps if you fall asleep thinking about a story problem, you’ll have the answer in the morning. (Keep a notebook and pen by the bed.)

Maybe you need to talk about the problem with a friend. Even people who don’t write can have fun brainstorming story ideas. When I was writing a middle grade mystery set in ancient Egypt, The Eyes of Pharaoh, I got my young main characters into a trap and didn’t know how they could escape. I asked a dozen people—including an engineer and a former military commando—for ideas. They came up with an amazing variety of possibilities. I didn’t wind up using any of them, but they got my own mind thinking creatively.

So is there a cure for writer’s block? Not a cure, perhaps, but a variety of treatments. Try these suggestions, and experiment to find new tricks that work for you. You may still get stuck, but hopefully you’ll get those fingers flying soon, and fill up that blank white page with nice black words.

(This post was first published on Karen Elliott's blog, The Word Shark.)

Chris Eboch’s book Advanced Plotting helps writers fine-tune their plots. Use the Plot Outline Exercise to identify and fix plot weaknesses, then learn how to get off to a fast start, prop up a sagging middle, build to a climax, improve your pacing, and more. Read excerpts at http://chriseboch.blogspot.com/.

Chris Eboch’s novels for ages nine and up include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; and the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Learn more at www.chriseboch.com. As Kris Bock, she writes action-packed romantic suspense, often involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. To learn more about her latest work, visit www.krisbock.com.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chris Eboch Interview with L. E. Falcone on The Voices Upstairs


Chris: I’ve worked with hundreds of writers, through workshops, in private paid critiques, and through courses with the Institute of Children’s Literature. Some of my clients plan to submit to publishers, while others are interested in self-publishing. Today I’m going to share a conversation with middle grade novelist L. E. Falcone, who recently released The Voices Upstairs. Here’s the book description:

When 14-year-old Jason Myers gets suspended for fighting with the school bully, he thinks he’ll just kick back and relax at home while his parents work all day. Unfortunately, a week off from school turns into a week-long stay with Grandma in her smelly house, cleaning out her closets as punishment. With no freedom, no TV, no video games, and no friends—life can’t get any worse for Jason.

Until the dead start talking.

Something is wrong in Grandma’s house. It holds a dark secret. As Jason digs into the past for answers, he uncovers disturbing truths that put his life in danger. How far is Jason willing to go to solve the mystery behind the voices?

Chris: Doesn’t that sound wonderfully creepy? For starters, L. E., tell us a little about why you wrote The Voices Upstairs.

L. E.: Well, I love ghost stories. But this story came after reading a book about a murder trial from the late 1920s where the young man who committed the crime claimed to have heard voices. It was also inspired by a line in a song by The Clash. The two together sparked the idea and the main character, Jason, showed up, bags packed, ready to go.

Chris: You first contacted me for editing in April of 2011. Why did you decide you needed a professional critique?

L. E.: I had already revised it umpteen times and shopped it around to agents. I had some good comments but no takers. Something wasn’t working but I just didn’t know what. I joined a writer’s group hoping to make connections but I wasn’t feeling it. I revised some more but it was more like banging my head against the wall. I wanted someone who knew writing, not only as a reader but as a writer, so I put a call out for editors and found you.

Chris: Looking back at my first critique letter, I opened by saying, “Jason has a great voice -- clever and casual and a bit snarky. The humor is wonderful. The novel’s premise is interesting and creepy, and the plot builds to a dramatic conclusion. You have a good balance between action and dialogue to keep things moving, and the writing is smooth.” So a lot was working – but I then gave you several pages of suggestions, such as escalating the problem, clarifying Jason’s emotional reactions, and explaining the villain’s behavior better. I also made detailed comments on the manuscript. How did you react to all this feedback?

L. E.: Overwhelmed! But, I loved it. I had lost all objectivity with the manuscript and needed someone to give it to me straight. I liked that you were no-nonsense about it and clarified for me what wasn’t working about it. You hit on everything I felt wasn’t working, by the way. Weird, isn’t it? (Not really) Once I began to see the bigger picture more clearly I felt more confident in making bolder choices for Jason.

Chris: You contacted me again in October 2012 for a second critique of the revised manuscript. Wasn’t once enough? Are you a glutton for punishment?

L. E.: Why? What have you heard? No, once wasn’t enough. The reason for the first time was to find out what was wrong so I could present a more polished product to agents/editors. Then technology changed things. The second time I contacted you was to polish it even more because I had made the decision to self-publish.

Chris: I’m always impressed by writers who are willing to really dig into their manuscripts and make major changes through multiple revisions. I think it’s one of the best indicators of success. In my second critique letter, I said, “You’ve made a lot of good changes. You have strong characters, nice humor, and an active plot with good complications.” And then I followed with more suggestions. By that point, the suggestions were more “small picture” things, like cliffhanger chapter endings, eliminating any wordiness, and clarifying cause/effect and goals. How did you feel after that critique?

L. E.: This was the letter where a lot of things came together for me. I had read so many how-to books, followed writer blogs, hung out on message boards, but some things weren’t sinking in. It helps to have someone work on your manuscript with you. You hit on the nagging questions I had about my writing and the Ah-ha! moments began. This fine-tuning period was when I felt like my manuscript had become a book.

Chris: By the second critique, I felt your work was getting close to publishable, or ready for submission. Why did you decide to self publish rather than to submit to agents or editors?

L. E.: Self-publishing fits my personality. I’ve always been a DIY kind of person. I like the business side as well as the creative side of it. I’m going to have to work on the marketing side of it though. It’s something I wanted to do long ago when I first started writing but the technology wasn’t there. And, my writing wasn’t anywhere near ready either.

Chris: Getting professional feedback is definitely recommended before self-publishing. I like your cover, too, and the final title. They are nicely creepy together. Did you do the cover yourself? What other steps did you need to take?

L. E.: Yes, I did. Once I settled on a title (which is hard for me), the idea for the cover came to me quickly. I have basic web design and Photoshop skills that helped. Formatting, and uploading, seems to be the biggest hurdle. Sometimes technology doesn’t want to cooperate with you and it took me a few tries to get it right. Setting up the business end of it has been a lot more time-consuming than I had anticipated. If anyone is interested in taking this route, be prepared for that. So far, it’s been fun. Busy, but fun.

Chris: Self-publishing isn’t easy. I blogged about the process earlier, here and here. I also have an “Indie Publishing Worksheet” on my website that offers an overview. Good luck with your novel, and feel free to report back later about additional things you’ve learned from the process!

For more about Chris Eboch critique services, see the “for writers“ page on her website.

L. E. Falcone began her writing career writing songs for her stuffed animals. She later took up writing something that sort of resembled poetry, and really short stories before moving onto writing for young people. During that time, she managed to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Ever in search of a ghostly mystery, she currently occupies space ten miles outside of the middle of nowhere and is convinced the woods behind her house are haunted. Her website redcollarbooks.com is under construction. Find her on Twitter @elliefalcone.

The Voices Upstairs is available for the Kindle for $3.99. A print on demand version is in the works.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Liesl Shurtliff's RUMP: THE TRUE STORY OF RUMPLESTILSKIN


Release Date: April 9, 2013 Knopf/Random House
www.lieslshurtliff.com

Liesl Shurtliff does more than spin words into gold—she gets us rooting for Rumpelstiltskin, a most magical feat.
—Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor-winning author of HATTIE BIG SKY

Lighthearted and inventive, RUMP amusingly expands a classic tale. 
—Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of FABLEHAVEN

As good as gold.
-- Kirkus, starred review

Spring 2013 Kids' Indie Next List title (ages 9-12)

What inspired you to write this story?
My strong affinity for potty humor. Okay, not entirely. I’ve always been fascinated by fairy-tales and their ability to span generations and cultures. Also, they’re so quirky and bizarre! The tale of Rumpelstiltskin particularly fascinates me because although he is the title character, we know next to nothing about him. Where does he come from? How did he get his name? Why’s it so important? How did he learn to spin straw to gold and why on earth does he want a baby? So I set out to write a story from his point of view and answer these questions. I went the extra mile and decided I wanted Rumpelstiltskin to be not only understood, but also loveable. I found the center and voice of his story when I shortened his name to the bare minimum. How can you not love a runty fellow called Rump?

What was your publication process like, from initial idea to sale?
It took about 9 months to write and revise RUMP before I queried agents. I secured an agent within a month. We revised together for about a month and we had an offer about a month after submission. So from idea to sale was about a year.

I realize this all seems very smooth and quick. Part of this was simply luck, but I feel it necessary to add that I worked for several years prior to this, studying the craft, writing other books and stories, and learning about the publishing industry in general. This was all part of my process and I feel it has helped me immensely in my publication journey. That said, I also realize that I was lucky to find the right people for my work at the right time. There is and element of luck, magic, karma, forces-beyond-this-world. I love magic! (So long as I have some.)

What books have shaped you as a reader and writer, from childhood to the present?
As a child I loved The Boxcar Children, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Wait Till Helen Comes, and anything by Shel Silverstein or Roald Dahl, particularly Matilda. Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale have also influenced my writing, and I wish they had been writing when I was growing up.

Today I read all over the place. I never stick to one genre, and I think it’s important for writers to read widely, but I always love a mixture of serious and silly and I think that’s evident in my own writing style.

What is one thing people misunderstand about fairy tales?
That fairy-tales are somehow irrelevant because they are not realistic reflections of our life experience. Fantasy and the fairy-tale are purely escapism, a way to ignore reality and it’s inconvenient laws of nature. “Life is not a fairy-tale,” people often say, but I couldn’t disagree more. I think what they mean to say is, “Life is not a Disney animation film.” Despite my love for Disney and the joy they bring to my life, they have butchered the integrity of fairy-tales for generations.

The real fairy tales, the ones collected by the Brothers Grimm, Perrault, Andersen and others, are generally brutal and often tragic. Take a look at the original tales of The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, or various origins of Little Red Riding Hood. They are not pretty, friends. Tragic love, cannibalism, and pecked out eyes. Some of them don’t even end well, and a few of them do not live happily ever after. They don’t even live. Why then do we say that life is not a fairy-tale as though we have somehow been duped? Consider the following statement made by a man who actually collected and penned some of the most famous fairy-tales.
“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale.”
-Hans Christian Andersen
Was this man delusional? I don’t think so. He didn’t mean that life is all butterflies and fairy dust and happily ever afters. There’s a sprinkling of that in real life. Of course there is great joy in this life, but many will suffer betrayal, heartache, and tragedy, and children are no exception. Fairy-tales, I believe, are great metaphors for real life. It’s beautiful, but it’s also ugly. It’s happy, but it’s also sad. It’s sweet, but it’s also bitter.

It is all wonderful.

So I implore you, whenever someone says “Life is not a Fairytale,” you should yell “YES, IT IS YOU, IDIOT!”

Are you working on anything new?
Yes! I’m currently working on another MG fairy tale retelling, a picture book, and a YA novel. I’m all over the place, mostly because I never know what’s going to really sing once I get into it. I go where the energy guides me!