Thursday, August 28, 2014

IFB Book Blitz: Dead Girl Walking by Ruth Silver

20749515Genre: YA Paranormal
Release date: April 25th 2014
Series: Royal Reaper #1
Publisher: Patchwork Press

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.

Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.

About the Author
Ruth  Silver
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of Aberrant. The Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Dystopian Adventure, Aberrant is the first in a trilogy, released April 17th, 2013. Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA/NA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all writing.


Casmerelda, The Black Plague, and How a World was Born 

I began with an idea for a story. Isn’t that normally how books are written? I loved the series Dead Like Me on Showtime. It was on from 2003 to 2004. Way too short a lifespan for a fabulous show. So I got to thinking, I haven’t read any books about grim reapers and certainly not any that were geared to a teen audience, quirky, and different. That was the thing about Dead Like Me, it was different. It was humorous, light-hearted, had a love story mixed in, and had characters you were rooting for the entire way through. 

As I was beginning to let my story take shape, I wanted something that went beyond reapers and pushed the boundaries into something fantastical. A mix of paranormal and fantasy. The princess idea was born. 

I didn’t want my main character, Princess Ophelia to solely be a princess from our current land, there had to be more. So, the initial plot took place in the 1400’s, specifically 1346 when the Black Plague spread along the Silk Road. What better way to kill off massive amounts of people than let a virulent disease do it? 

Complication: There were no monarchies (no princesses) where the story was taking place. At least not in that time period. Which obviously made things difficult. Either pull the novel away from historical fantasy or get the facts right. 

I tugged with the idea of how to make it historically accurate, and then decided the language would have to match. I didn’t like the sound of, “You're going to kill my beau.” I preferred it read “boyfriend.” That was just one instance, there were several language issues and I strongly felt the story would be better set in a fantasy world that parallels our history. Casmerelda was born.


“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.” 
Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?” 
“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How I Retold Hans Christian Andersen's "The Dryad"

The Tree Hugger, a Dystopian Fairy Tale is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Dryad.”. I absolutely love the idea of spirits whose lives are connected with trees. However, in the original tale, the dryad is flighty (really?) and curious. As is often the case in fairy tales, that curiosity doesn’t go unpunished.

But I ask you: What is wrong with wanting to see more of the world?


So, on those two counts, I altered the tale. Rather than the flighty creature in Andersen’s tale, I believe a nature-spirt born with a direct relationship to trees would be steady, solid, focused, and determined. Thus, Mags was born. More apt to be silent and solitary, sturdy and resilient than whimsical and capricious.

And what about that trip? The fact that Andersen’s dryad got punished for her curiosity and sense of adventure just didn’t sit well with me. I wanted my tree hugger to find joy at the end of her journey, to rise above her trials and tribulations. Mags is also curious when she leaves home. But her curiosity is driven from a deep wound. And though her journey isn’t characterized by whimsy, there are some wild woods and a bit of enchantment along the way.

The third novella in my Once Upon a Time Today collection, The Tree Hugger is now available.

To celebrate this new release, all three novellas and the prelude to the Once Upon a Time Today collection, are $0.99.

What a perfect time to get your fairy tale fix!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How I Retold Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"

Since my third Once Upon a Time Today novella, The Tree Hugger, will be releasing on August 26th, I'm writing a short series on how I've retold each tale. Dreaming of the Sea is the second tale in the collection. It will be free on Amazon August 23rd through the 25th, so pick up a copy if you don't already have one!

When I read the original version of the “The Little Mermaid”, I was surprised with its spiritual emphasis. None of the movie remakes or retellings I’d read conveyed the original tale’s underlying theme: Mermaids don’t have souls and the little mermaid wanted one. Rather profound. But it left me with a dilemma. I have two goals for each Once Upon a Time Today novella. The first is to update the story with characters and setting, the second is to remain true to the original fairy tale’s essence while providing some kind of twist.

I realized if I remained true to the essence of “The Little Mermaid”, I’d be grappling with spiritual themes. I chose to go ahead and twist the original tale by having a mortal at risk of losing her immortal soul.

Although the sea witch is a critical figure in the original tale, she doesn’t get a lot of stage time. I’d read Wicked years ago and loved the spin on the Wicked Witch of the West, so I decided to focus my retelling on “the witch” as well. One fun detail: We see the “original” little mermaid come to the sea witch’s lair and have quite an impact on the sea witch’s apprentice in Dreaming of the Sea.

When it came to setting, I decided to make use of the convent that served as an important place in the original tale. Out of that decision, Miriam was born. Miriam seems to be almost everyone’s favorite character. Determined, but also dreamy, her journey in the story is quite spectacular.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How I Retold Han's Christian Andersen's "Beautiful"

Since the third tale in my Once Upon a Time Today collection, The Tree Hugger, will be releasing on August 26th, I thought I'd do a series on how I retold each tale. I'll begin with Beautiful Beautiful the first tale in the collection, which is will be free on Amazon August 20th through 23rd, so pick up a copy if you don't already have one!

I chose Han's Christian Andersen's "Beautiful" for the first retelling in my collection because beauty is something that has always moved and fascinated me, it's one of my obsessions. I do believe that whether one wishes to acknowledge it or not, beauty has a lot of power. However, the question of what is beautiful, is very personal. And though our perceptions of beauty are influenced by our families and culture, we all ultimately perceive the beautiful distinctly.

You see, I could go on and on...

In Andersen's tale, a male sculptor is besotted with a beautiful but quiet young lady. He misinterprets her reticence as depth and proceeds to marry her. As he lives with her, he discovers his wife's lack of speech isn't so much that "still waters run deep", more that she's rather passive and insipid. His awareness of her nature comes too late. It doesn't help that the young lady's overbearing mother moves in with the newlyweds.

I won't go into the rest of the tale here [SPOILER ALERT], but suffice it to say that by the end of the tale, the sculptor's eye for beauty has altered and matured.

To make this tale contemporary, I chose a female protagonist, Kerrin Mayham. She needed to be driven by beauty, so a film director seemed like the perfect profession. I wanted to remain true to the protagonist misjudging the interior of someone who was physically beautiful. Enter aspiring actor Anthony Zorr.
While he doesn't have an overbearing mother, he does have an aggressive agent in Marni Lamb. The story unfolds from there.

I added the narrative frame after the core story was written because I wanted to add another layer of enchantment to the tale. Allowing Kerrin to create a fairy tale by drawing from the experiences in her life, allowed me to recreate one of the special memories I shared with my own mother who seemed to spin the most fantastical tales out of nothing when I was child. But who knows? Perhaps she was drawing from the well of her experience too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales

Loosely biographical, The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales is free! The three short stories chronicle the journey of a young girl spiritually sustained by fairy tales as she transforms into a woman who finds her place in the world by—what else?—writing fairy tales.

Monday, August 18, 2014

You're Invited: Fairy Tales Eclectic

Love all things fairy tale? So do we! Fairy Tales Eclectic is a new Goodreads group where we will be discovering, discussing and curating the best new fairy tales, fairy tale collections, fairy tale retellings, and fairy tale influences.

Best news? You're invited! So come by and say Hi! While you're there, tell us your favorite fairy tale. You can also add links to any fairy tale-themed blog post you've written, and create new topics for all your favorite favorite fairy tale reads. If you're an author, you can announce your fairy-tale-influenced new releases, sales, and freebies.

Hope to see you there! Heidi

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pre-Order The Tree Hugger for $0.99

Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Genre: Dystopian Fairy Tale
Pre-Order at Amazon | Goodreads

ABOUT The Tree Hugger:

Born and raised in the Free Territories, Magnolia Lee Winthrop, prefers the company of trees and nature to spending time with most people. Although she’s not much of a talker, she’s got plenty of strong opinions about life and how it should be lived, just like her mother and grandmother.

After the settlement’s forest farm is burnt to the ground, Magnolia’s life can never be the same. To cope with her grief, she’ll have to leave behind everything she’s ever known and loved for a hard journey through a foreign, paved, and abandoned world.

The Tree Hugger is a dystopian retelling of Han’s Christian Andersen’s “The Dryad.”

The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales is a prelude to the Once Upon a Time Today collection and includes the three short stories:

"The Girl Who Watched for Elves"
"The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes"
"The Girl Who Couldn't Sing"

Novellas in the Once Upon a Time Today collection:

Beautiful Beautiful
Dreaming of the Sea
The Tree Hugger

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IFB Tour: The Lost Kingdom by Stephanie Beerden + Giveaway

Series: The Elements #1
Release date: April 28th 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads:
A Prophecy made long ago, announced the arrival of the new Ladies of Elements.

And now almost a millennia later, it finally came true …

All her life Arima thought she knew who and what she was. That is until the day of her sixteenth birthday came and her world is turned upside down, when she’s told she’s not a White Witch but Lady Spirit. And that she is the one that has been foretold, will unite the Five Ladies of Elements once again and save Ilendia and the Other Lands from Ahriman, the Demon King.

At first Arima refuses to accept her new fate, but when Shanums come and destroy her village and kill her loved ones, she has no choice but to flee and fall right into the destiny she never wanted.

As she grudgingly starts her journey into the unknown, she is accompanied by her unicorn familiar Sirrim, Blythe, a Vampire with a dark past and Myrddin, a mysterious Ljosalfar.

And the longer her journey lasts, the more Arima begins to realise that she can’t escape her own destiny and she must learn to control her powers and learn to be a Lady for the sake of the Sisters she doesn’t know and the people of Ilendia and the Other Lands.

However, things get more complicated when Arima comes into the possession of a key. Her instincts compel her to go towards danger when she discovers that the key she holds, can unlock the legendary kingdom of El├ęssima, the home of the Ladies of Elements.

She will have to make the choice to follow her instincts …

…or stay on the path that has been laid out for her.
~ Stephanie Beerden's Awesome Playlist ~
Songs that Inspired The Lost Kingdom and The Element series

1. Amethystium – Strangely Beautiful

2. Amethystium – Gates of Morpheus

3. Amethystium – Elvensong

4. Amethystium – Ethereal

5. Immediate Music – Final Omen 2.0

6. Immediate Music – Blasphemy 2.0

7. Immediate Music – Clash of the Titans

8. Immediate Music – Serenata Immortale

9. Immediate Music – With an Iron Fist

10. X-Ray Dog – Dethroned

11. Carmina Burana – Oh Fortuna

12. Clint Mansell – Requiem For a Dream

13. Loreena McKennitt – Ever After Theme

14. Nightwish – End of All Hope

15. Nightwish – Tristania

16. Nox Arcana – Sanctuary of Shadows

17. Nox Arcana – Nightmare Parade

18. Nox Arcana – Night Wraiths

19. Nox Arcana – Night of the Wolf

20. Nox Arcana – Legions of Darkness

21. Two Steps From Hell – Archangel

22. Two Steps From Hell – White Witch

23. Two Steps From Hell – Immortal

24. Two Steps From Hell – False King

25. Two Steps From Hell – Moving Mountains

26. Snow White and the Huntsman Soundtrack – Breath of Life

27. The Hunchback of Notre Dame Soundtrack – Sanctuary

28. Within Temptation – Blue Eyes

29. Within Temptation – Our Solemn Hour

30. Within Temptation – Frozen
Stephanie Beerden was born on Friday the 13th (no joke, she really was) in a small city called Genk in Belgium. She has always been fascinated with the occult, magic and books. Her childhood and teen years were filled with reading lots and lots of books and imagining what life would be like as a vampire. Until one day she decided that she wanted to try her hand at writing her own books and that was the beginning of her writing adventure.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fairy Tales Plus on Pinterest

A long time ago I used to collect inspiring images and pin them onto real cork bulletin boards. That was way back in the day when I collected interesting postcards and magazines... I'd hang the boards up around my apartment to remind me of the things that were important to me. For some reason, the demands of daily life can make me forget! In the past few months, I've discovered Pinterest and it has been such a joy to create virtual bulletin boards! I'm slowly creating a board for each of my books, as well as a few for some of my passions!