Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Symbols and Archetypes in Fairy Tales

Symbols and archetypes are powerful fairy tale elements. Both activate the unconscious and the imagination.

What is a symbol? It's an object that represents or stands in for an idea, belief, action, or something else. The glass slipper in Cinderella, the shard of broken mirror in The Snow Queen, Rumpelstiltskin weaving straw into gold.

What is an archetype? At its most basic, it's a role—one that we all grasp at an instinctual level, the King, the Queen, the Joker, the Thief.

By making use of symbols and archetypes, stories that might be considered simple become more complex, as they radiate through each individual in a personal way. Profound understandings and connections can be quickly sparked, through images that tap into deeper levels of consciousness. Because no matter how many times, nor how many ways, fairy tales are told and retold, we add our own inner details to Cinderella, the Evil Stepmother, Sleeping Beauty, the Wicked Witch, the Big Bad Wolf, and the Deep Woods.

Over and over, the relatable psychological symbolism of fairy tales, serve as a short-hand for bridging individuals with universal truth. Pretty much, in a way that other stories can't. I think that's why fairy tales are so enduring, why we tell them and re-tell them. And why they are so darn satisfying.

The Tarot is a set of cards that, like fairy tales, have been around for a long time. There are hundreds of different tarot decks, kind of like the many fairy tale retellings. An individual artist puts their personal spin on an archetypal image. The image isn't replaced, it simply wears a different set of clothes.

I thought it would be fun to show the tarot spread I created for The Girl Who Watched for Elves, one of the short stories that serves as a prelude to the Once Upon a Time Today collection. One of the things you might notice is that tenth card in the spread, the one on the bottom row on the far left, 'the elf card,' doesn't appear exactly as it's described in the story.
The Twenty-Card Spread in The Girl Who Watched for Elves ~ Hanson-Roberts Tarot Deck

That's because the story was written by combining the images from the above deck, with the most traditional and popular tarot deck, the Rider-Waite deck.

Now, take a look at the "Eight of Pentacles" in that deck. Ask yourself: If you saw that picture, would you see an elf? Possibly—probably—not! But during the tarot reading in the story, Heather was taking a trip down memory lane, and she knew the next chapter in her story was her reunion with her grandmother. She also know how much the story, The Shoemaker and the Elves, meant to her. She saw the card, according to her personal history. That's what we do with symbols and archetypal images. We personalize them. Because of their simplicity, it's almost impossible not to.
Transformational themes, symbols, archetypes—these elements contribute to the enduring and beguiling nature of fairy tales.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fairy Tales as Tales of Transformation

If you look up fairy tales, in say, Wikipedia, you find such a mishmash of definitions and attempts at definitions that it makes you understand: What makes a tale specifically a fairy tale is hard to nail down. In cases like this, I resort to personal experience.

What is a fairytale to me?

First and foremost, for me fairytales, are about transformation. (I'm not cheating or anything, Hilda Ellis Davidson and Anna Chaudri consider transformation to be a key element of the genre too.) But aren't all stories about transformation, you say. I mean isn't the essence of any good story some sort of change?

In this regard, to me, fairy tales are concentrated. The essential nature of a fairytale is to capture that fleeting, ephemeral moment when the transformation of the little girl, little boy, princess, prince, orphan, servant, bird, or toad, occurs. The prince slips on Cinderella's shoe, with a single kiss the Frog Prince resumes his human form, and Grandma is revealed to be the big bad wolf. In one breath, characters have become something different than they were. Not just to themselves, but to the rest of the world. Even when they are restored to positions and places from which they were knocked down, stolen from, and betrayed, they do not return the same.

All fairy tale characters bring along with their new self an increase in wisdom and life experience.

Which, in my opinion, is the requirement for the Happily Ever After. Because, as most of us know, Happily Ever Afters can be tricky. So unless you've got some kind of new magic, ability, skill, or awareness up your sleeve, you're going to be in trouble.

Which is never to say that we're ever completely protected from the Evil Forces that want to crash our castles, but wisdom and experience… well, paying attention helps.

I believe in fairy tales, which one might extrapolate to mean: I believe in transformation. I do. In that regard, I've begun writing Once Upon a Time Today collection.

"In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters."

I've imagined this collection for a long time, and after experiencing my own moment of transformation this summer, the wind whispered while we were riding the ferry, "It's time."

So, today, I introduce to you A Short Story: The Girl Who Watched for Elves. It's the first of three short stories that I consider a prelude to the collection.

Do you believe in fairy tales?

In A Short Story: The Girl Who Watched for Elves a young woman spends a transformational afternoon with a tarot reader. As the reader interprets the images in the twenty-card spread, the young woman experiences a deeper acceptance of where she’s come from and a more hopeful view of where she’s going. The traditional tarot images—representing the formative points in her past, the challenges of her present, and the promise her future holds—awaken the young woman to a sense of life’s magic.

~ Excerpt ~

On a crisp fall day, a young woman visited a tarot reader.

He shuffled his cards and proffered the deck for her to cut before proceeding to lay out twenty cards, in two rows of ten.

The young woman sat across from the reader in anticipation.

What secrets might he reveal to her about herself?

The reader gazed at the tableaux, then at her, then back at the cards. He adjusted his glasses, and settled one elbow on the table.

What did he see in the cards?

"The world you were born into was very hot," he said.

She nodded, appreciating this new way of looking at her origins.

Once upon a time, a girl was born into the heat of battle. This battle wasn't apocalyptic in the sense of the world at large, no, the battle she was born into was rather microscopic, when considered in relation to the billions of people who lived on planet earth and the problems that plagued them. But she was only an infant, with a newborn's limited ability to move, and no ability to leave the battlefield, so to her, it was like being born into Armageddon ...

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Once Upon a Time Today Collection Launch Party!

The Once Upon a Time Today collection launch party begins this weekend! To celebrate the release of the first novella in the collection, Beautiful Beautiful on November 15th, we'll be having freebies, videos, a blog tour, giveaways, and a final chat!

Signup for my newsletter so you don't miss out on any of the events!

* indicates required

Monday, October 21, 2013

Impossibly Love by Shane Morgan Release Event!

Hi Everyone! I usually present all things fairy tale and fantasy, but today I wanted to bring you a special event: The book trailer for Shane Morgan's G-rated New Adult Contemporary Romance Impossibly LovePlease Enjoy!
Release date: October 29th, 2013
Publisher: TSW Books
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Available: Paperback, Kindle

All Moya Douglas wants to do is study hard, maintain her scholarship, and make her mother proud while attending college. She doesn’t have time for a boyfriend or going on dates arranged by her best friend. Moya doesn’t believe in love. And she has no intention of ever finding it. 

Branden McCarthy is determined to change her views.

A selfless romantic who’s had his heart broken in the past, Branden is fascinated with Moya’s personality and hopes to develop something real with her-a connection so strong it’ll open her heart. But just when things start to work between the two, Branden’s secret threatens to get in the way.

Will Moya finally do the impossible and give love a chance with Branden, or will fear keep them apart?

Rated G for everyone. No strong language. No raunchy sex scenes throughout.

This is a New Adult novel about finding love and oneself.

About the writer:
Shane’s love for writing started the moment she picked up a Nancy Drew book. At a young age, she began writing short stories, divulging in a variety of genres; from comedy, drama, to horror and romance. She’s quite intrigued by the otherworldly or things otherwise deemed “impossible.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: Elemental Enmity Series by Christie Rich

I'm excited to bring you the cover re-reveal for author Christie Rich and her Young Adult series, Elemental Enmity!

About the Elemental Enmity Series:
Rayla Tate is an ordinary girl who wants a bit of freedom from her controlling aunt. When she leaves her hometown, the one place that could have protected her from the fae, to pursue her dreams in the art world, she discovers a new life full of adventure, just not what she expected. 

When the world of the fae comes chasing after her, Rayla must learn what her role is in the age old battle for dominance between human and fae. The two worlds collide, bringing her step by step closer to her true destiny and the foe of a lifetime. 

True evil rests in the shadows and will do anything to steal Rayla’s power. She must fight for her freedom and those she loves, both fae and human. Will Rayla overcome the odds and free a people enslaved by darkness, or will she find her world plunged into an unimaginable abyss of destruction? 

Elemental Enmity is a story about free will, power, love, lust, overcoming inner and outer demons, and the ultimate battle of good versus evil that exists inside each of us. True power comes from within, a lesson, like all of us, Rayla must learn.

Join Rayla on a journey of a lifetime and discover what it means to be truly in love. Five, Elemental Enmity, Book One is FREE on all major e-retailers. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and enjoy a read on me!

About the author:
I grew up daydreaming about fairytales, and my love for discovering new worlds has never died. I am not one of those writers who always knew I would write. I thought that was what other people did until one day, a few years ago, I took a challenge from a friend and typed my first words. My journey has been wonderful, and I cannot imagine a day where I would ever give up writing. My love for reading is what fueled my imagination in the first place and still does. When I am not writing or reading, I enjoy family time with my husband and two children. My family and I live in a quiet community in Northern Utah, and I am so thankful for the rich life I have been blessed with.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Garden of Eden

Series: The Legend of Eden #1
Re-Release date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing

It has been four years.

Four years since the day the Catchers found her family.

Four years since she escaped capture.

And four years since the day her mother locked her and Will, a boy she hardly knew, in an attic, 'for their own protection'. 

Now, Eden White is fifteen, and sick of being a prisoner of parents who all but abandoned her. It was as simple as one walk down a beautiful, foggy beach, but it ended with Eden and Will face to face with Catchers - and this time, there is no escape.

When Eden wakes, she finds herself on an island, surrounded by hundreds of stolen children. Enrolled in the island school, Jordan Hall, Eden quickly learns that the island is not what it seems.

And, in the woods surrounding the school, she discovers a wild, beautiful magic inside of herself - one she has no idea how to control. With three unlikely new friends, Eden begins to realize that the headmistress is hiding much more than the stolen children - and what they learn in the laboratories below the school could cost Eden her life.

~Eating Magic~

I'm reading Garden of Eden, The Legend of Eden Book 1 by Kate Cowan. It's kind of a dystopia horror island story, but it begins in an lollipop-shaped attic. What's interesting about the novel is that once you think you've hit a wall of predictability in the plot, on the next page the wall comes down. There are themes and motifs that have been done thousands of times before: Children locked away in dungeons and labs, drugged, trained, threatened, and hunted depending on the day. Yet they're tossed together in the salad bowl of this novel in an organic way.

It's a first book in a series, so many doors are opened and nothing is really closed. The main thing is: Eden wants more of a life than being locked away in castles, towers, attics, and dungeons, or being told not to go out into the woods. Something she does, every chance she gets.

There's a psychedelic quality to the plot that's refreshing. It's an easy read with a nice pace. Eden is likable… perhaps the most likable when she's persuading ice queen Adriane to train her into becoming something more tough and battle ready.

The most unusual story element is Liddon, a magician Eden stumbles upon in that forbidden forest…


I walked toward the spot where the noise had come from, curious to see if I was truly hearing things. But as I neared, I realized with a chill that the woods were not as empty as I had assumed. And then again, clearer this time, the laughter rang out again.

I first glimpsed the man as I hid behind a thick tree trunk. It was a sycamore, with dense branches low enough so I could climb them with no trouble. I started scaling it as quietly as I could, my muscles still aching from my training with Adriane. I don't think it would have mattered if I'd thrown a grenade at this man—he wouldn't have noticed. If I had ever thought I was insane, I was sorely mistaken. This is what insanity looked like.

From my vantage point high in the tree, I studied the man. He was tall; one of the tallest people I had ever seen, and maybe in his mid-thities. He wore a bright pink and purple striped suit jacket, with an orange collared shirt underneath, and a tie that hung just half-tied, as if he had once been ready for a very colorful formal event. His pants were old, torn and pink, to match his jacket. On his head he wore a furry lime-green bowler's cap, which seemed to exist only to hold his mass of wild, shoulder-length brown curls.

He danced like a wild man around a tiny fire, and I noticed a little monkey perched on his shoulder, and a huge, bright blue bird flying through the air around his head.

About the Author 
Kate is an artist, an animation student, a black belt in karate and now, an author. She didn't discover writing until mid-high school, when she began writing an (unintentionally) hilarious novel involving a teenage girl and a magic necklace. Her current novel series, The Legend of Eden, began as a story of Arthurian magic, but quickly transformed into something much different.

Kate currently lives in Ontario, Canada, in a zoo of a house. When she isn't writing, she's drawing, cooking, or browsing the Internet for new music.

Signup for Heidi Garrett's newsletter!
Love fairy tales and their retellings? Join Fairy Tales Eclectic!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sign up for the Beautiful Beautiful IFB Blog Tour

Itching for Books is hosting a blog tour for Beautiful Beautiful, the first novella in my Once Upon a Time Today collection. In these stand-along retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters

Monday, October 7, 2013

IFB Cover Reveal: Beautiful Beautiful by Heidi Garrett

I'm excited to announce the IFB cover reveal for the first book in my new Once Upon a Time Today collection of contemporary fairy tale novellas. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

Beautiful Beautiful, the first novella in the collection, will be released on November 15.

Please visit these awesome blogs to see the cover and enter a chance to win an ecopy of the finished novella.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IFB Cover Reveal: Powered by Cheyanne Young

Release date: November 28th 2013
Publisher: 336Love
Cover Reveal: October 2nd

Maci Might's sixteenth birthday is supposed to be the day she's awarded Hero status. But thanks to a tiny anger problem and a questionable family tree, King City's elders think it's best if she doesn't join the Hero ranks. Determined to change their minds, Maci will break whatever rule it takes to prove she's Hero material. As her hair darkens and her anger grows, everyone turns against her except Evan; a childhood friend turned scientist who may be able to unlock the secrets hidden in her DNA.

When a villain attacks King City and her dad is held prisoner, Maci discovers a truth she refuses to believe. She may not be a Hero after all—but this time the Heroes of King City need her more than she needs them. And she won't let them down.
About the Author:
Cheyanne Young is the Amazon Best Selling author of Motocross Me. She is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her daughter, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world.