Hi friends! I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Eilis Flynn to ALBTALBS!! For once I didn’t include any of her other book covers because I think the focus is as it should be – on Festival of Starsand I hope you’ll find a new book to love. (I’m also super excited to have this little visit back to APAHM.) I love fairy tales and twisted fairy tales! <3
Celebrating a festival of stars in a year of diversity
By Eilis Flynn
Like the fairy tales that kids in Western culture grow up reading and hearing about, the story of the festival of stars is one that kids all over Asia know. The annual meeting of the Weaver Princess and the Cowherder—that’s the version I knew when I was a kid growing up in Japan; you’ll find it under several different names—is a wonderful, tragic, yet hopeful love story, and I always wanted to adapt it to modern, American times. It goes like this: The princess and the cowherder meet one day, and fall in love. But because they neglect their duties in their devotion to each other, the Celestial King rules that they must be separated, with only one chance a year to get together. This is the “romance of the Milky Way,” the Tanabata, as the ancient Japanese poems refer to it, the Festival of Stars.
That kind of love is universal, and it speaks to us all, I figured. Right? So I wrote it.
When this book was originally published in 2007, it was the book of my heart, allowing me to retell the story of what I had always regarded as the ultimate romance, but set in the United States of contemporary times, taken from the Japanese folktales with which I had grown up. But I ran into a road block when I was told, and told again, that the majority of readers wouldn’t be able to relate to it because of its theme of biracialism and bigotry. Editors to whom I submitted it literally told me that Asians didn’t read (which surprised the heck out of me and possibly to the billion literate Asians out there) and thus would have no interest. In any case, when I did sell it, despite decent reviews the book sold poorly, so when I eventually got the rights to it back, I laid the book to rest, assuming it would never see the light of day again.Continue reading →
Hi friends! Today we’ve got the awesome and wonderful Shiloh Walker visiting with us! Shiloh is one of the very first authors I ever met. (I’m pretty sure. Actually she might be the very first…) and she’s here talking about her Grimm book[s]. Shiloh also has had a lot of great news to share lately, so major congratulations!
Once Upon a Time…
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful young woman…and she died. A really horrible death. But it’s okay!
I wonder if I started a story that way, would people read it?
I write books like that…my Grimm series have people dying lots of nasty, horrible deaths…and it really is okay, because they come back.
My Grimm are bastardized fairy tales…as in they have their basis in fairy tales. The world is filled with the Grimm, guardian angels who protect unsuspecting mortals from demons we can’t recognize. And the fairy tales we read about were created to hide the truth of what really happens… Yes, for those who watch the show, this might sound familiar, but…um… I was doing it like two years before they were. 😉 And it’s a little different.
The first story was Greta’s, from Candy Houses, yep, Hansel and Gretel, but Hansel isn’t in the book. He was a bad, bad boy and he died a bad, bad death. Then there is Ella, and yes, she is Cinderella, but she didn’t have two wicked stepsisters or a mean stepmother. She did have a Prince Charming, but he was a bit of a jerk and ends up having to spend 200 years trying to win her back.
I don’t just do fairy tales. There’s Ren–I do love Ren. He’s lot of fun and he’s more than a little crazy, but if you want to know who he is, you’ll have to read the book.
Sometimes I twist them up a bit more, like Perci…Percinette. If you are into fairy tales, you may know who she is.
Then there’s the latest story. The hero’s name is Jacob. His story won’t be as hard to guess as some, but it was still fun to write.
I had somebody ask me how I figure out who I’m doing next and there’s no particular method to my madness.
It’s just whatever idea catches my fancy at the time. Jacob’s story actually came from the heroine, somebody who was very tormented by the mortal life, and the husband, she’d left behind when she’d died. That life is no longer hers, but all the regrets and miseries still cling to her–she’s only been living this life a few years and the night she died was a night that would torment anybody. She needed somebody who could help break those chains. And nobody does chains quite the way this guy does.
But the ideas just kind of come in odd ways. I’ve got one side character that you’ll meet in this book, Rob, and although I know why he’s the way he is, I’m not entirely sure who he is. I think I do, but can I make it work?
I got an idea from watching one of the Shrek movies not too long ago. That will be fun if it ever pans out.
This entire series is fun, really…which goes to show how weird I am. Because I can sum up the basic idea for the story by saying… Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful young woman…and she died. A really horrible death. But it’s okay!
“There are no buts. You weren’t happy. The two of you barely managed to co-exist together. You wanted children. He did not. He wanted to pursue a writing career and you were terrified it wouldn’t happen. You had different dreams for your lives and somewhere along the way, you fell out of love.”
“Wrong!” She spun around and glared at Jacob. “I still love him.”
“There is love, and there is in love. Have you forgotten the difference?”
She sneered at him. “What in the hell do you know about love, you damned iceberg?”
She never even saw him move. One moment, he was three feet away. And then he was only inches away, his long body, so lean and warm, caging hers in against something cool and metal–a car? Truck? She didn’t know, didn’t care. One hand rested by her shoulder. The other cupped her chin. “More than you would think, sweet. Far more than you would think.” Then his mouth was on hers.
She thought he was an iceberg.
Her mouth was still under his, for the briefest moment. He knew it wouldn’t last long, and he intended to make the most of it. She wanted to wither away and die, did she?
Perhaps she needed to see just how much life she still had inside her.
Oh, but she was sweet…he’d known she would be. Her mouth was soft, even though she was still frozen with shock. Soft, and she tasted like soft, warm woman, cherries and Coke… She lived on Cherry Coke, it seemed. He could live on the taste of it on her, he supposed.
Stroking his tongue along the curve of her lower lip, he teased her lips apart, delving inside the second he had an opportunity. He didn’t believe in wasting those.
Her fingers curled into the front of his coat and over the roaring of blood in his ears, he heard the soft, broken sound of her breath…and even sweeter, the erratic beat of her heart. Her body wilted against his–he felt the push of her breasts, the softness of her belly, the long lines of the body she treated so carelessly. There was wanting in her body, needing…she wanted, she needed. Him…she wanted him.
For that moment–he felt it.
And then he felt her fist.
He took that first punch, staggering back a little. Damn, she was strong. When she would have hit him again, he caught her hand, stopping the blow before it landed. “Don’t,” he warned quietly.
If you’d like to read more about them, you can check them out at my site here… and if you’re interested in trying one of them out, this story(Grimm Tidings) releases this Tuesday (April 24th). The stories are written to stand completely on their own, so if you’ve never read one, feel free to dive in wherever…
I’m giving away a $10 GC to Samhain to one commenter…it can be used internationally, on both print and ebooks. Any costs over the $10 will be the winner’s responsibility.
So what do you think? Have you ever read any of Shiloh’s Grimm books? Do you enjoy twisted fairy tales? Or Modern myths? Which would you most like to read about? Or… even be in/have experienced? Inquiring minds and all… 😉
Hi Everyone! As you can see I’m painfully behind. It’s… well I don’t want to talk about it. But today we have the lovely and kind Debra Mullins visiting with us!
Grimm vs. Once Upon A Time: Which Is Your Favorite?
When Limecello and I discussed what my post should be about today, one of the subjects she threw out there was TV. Now, I am a storyteller. I am obsessed with stories. Every pastime I have involves stories: writing, reading, TV, movies. Even my new hobby of tracing my family tree keeps me interested because of the stories of the people I am discovering. And with the neat new shows that have cropped up this season, I thought I would bring an ongoing discussion to the internet that I have with my husband every week: Grimm or Once Upon A Time, which one do you like better?
For those who might be unfamiliar with either of these shows (get thee to NBC or ABC pronto!), they have some things in common:
– Both are based on fairy tales
– Both have folks from the Whedonverse involved (meaning Joss Whedon).
When I first heard about both these shows, it was Grimm that caught my interest. First of all, David Greenwalt was one of the producers. You might have seen some of his work—specifically on a couple of shows called Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
The premise sounded cool: a homicide detective who finds out he’s descended from people called Grimms who can see the supernatural beings around us for what they are and hunt them down if needed. These supernatural beings, it turns out, are the basis for a lot of fairy tales told by the Grimm brothers (whose name apparently wasn’t Grimm—a Grimm was what they were, not who.) The show looked a little dark, and that was fine with me. You can catch it on NBC, currently on Fridays.
As far as Once Upon A Time, I had seen ads for it here and there, and I had pretty much dismissed it. A TV show about fairy tales? Another one? Was there something in the water in Hollywood? Weren’t there any original ideas anymore? I wasn’t even going to watch it. Then two words caught my interest and had me setting my DVR: JANE ESPENSON.
Jane Espenson was one of the writers of Buffy. AndAngel. AndFirefly. (She wrote for lots of other shows, too, but these are my favorites, Whedon groupie that I am). If she was involved, the show couldn’t be the piece of fluff I’d thought it was going to be. So I sat down to watch and was completely hooked from the word go.
The premise of Once Upon A Time is interesting: the wicked queen from Snow White has decided she wants her happily ever after by making everyone else miserable. She does this by making terrible sacrifices and, using a curse given to her by the very shady Rumpelstiltskin, somehow transports all the fairy tale characters to a small down in Maine called Storybrooke, where they all live with no memory of who they used to be, and where time is stopped.
Now you know that can’t be all, right? Of course not. Before the curse was cast, Snow White had just given birth to a daughter who was prophesied to save them all from the curse after her twenty-eighth birthday. The daughter’s name is Emma, and in a heroic move, Emma’s father Prince Charming, while fighting off the evil queen’s guards, managed to shove his infant daughter through the magic door into our world before the curse hit. So Emma grew up here in our world, a foundling, bouncing through foster homes until she grew up to be a bounty hunter.
Yes, folks, Emma literally kicks butt for a living.
But it doesn’t stop there. Seems Emma had a baby when she was eighteen, a son she gave up for adoption. And that son, Henry, turns up on her doorstep on the eve of her twenty-eighth birthday, a ten year old toting a book of fairy tales that he insists tells the truth about all the citizens of Storybrooke. Of course Emma is concerned that the child she gave up is mentally disturbed and takes him home to Storybrooke and his adoptive mother—the evil queen, now named Regina and the mayor of Storybrooke. Uncomfortable with the dysfunctional relationship Henry has with his adoptive mother, Emma decides to stick around Storybrooke until she’s sure Henry is okay. And that’s when the curse starts to unravel. Once Upon A Time is on ABC, currently on Sundays.
Now for my question to you. I really thought Grimm was going to grab me, but so far all our hero seems to be able to do is see the monsters. He has no other super powers that I can see (he’s no Slayer or vampire with a soul). The show has been picked up for a full season, and I continue to watch, hoping Nick will show us something new about being a Grimm. I’m willing to give it a chance, and David Giuntoli, who plays Detective Nick Burkhardt, is pretty nice to look at. Plus, his sidekick on the show is a reformed Big Bad Wolf. Can’t beat that.
But then you have Once Upon A Time, where secrets abound, and questions are answered and new ones asked in every episode. The show is addicting, and I have fun trying to guess who various characters are as they are introduced (Dr. Archie Hopper, the psychologist (aka Jiminy Cricket) or Ruby, the waitress at Granny’s Diner who really loves red and wolves (aka Red Riding Hood). Once Upon A Time has also been picked up for a full season with new episodes starting January 8, 2012.
My husband and I are more drawn to Once Upon A Time, but my college age son and his girlfriend never miss an episode of Grimm. Which one do you like better and why?
Ms. Mullins is also giving away a copy of her newest digital release – a retro release from Samhain Once a Mistress! So tell us – what do you think of Once Upon A Time or Grimm? Or if you haven’t seen either, what do you think about fairy tale stories or shows?
Her love will capture the ultimate treasure—his heart.
Diana Covington is a dutiful daughter with a boring future all mapped out for her. A shipping fortune and lush Jamaican estate that will someday be hers, a husband of her father’s choice. Romance and Caribbean adventure exist only in her dreams, in which the Black Spaniard, El Moreno, plays a starring role.
Until she is kidnapped by the evil pirate Marcus, and her girlish fantasies quickly turn to nightmares.
Alex Rawnsley’s dark Spanish looks makes him the perfect choice to take on the identity of El Moreno. His mission is to bring Marcus to justice, but his heart thirsts for blood. Vengeance for his brother’s murder is within his grasp when Diana’s kidnapping throws a hitch in his strategy.
Snatching her from Marcus’s clutches is easy enough, but what to do with her now? He cannot return her home lest she be taken again. He has no choice but to keep the distracting, innocent beauty aboard his ship. In his cabin. In his bed. The temptation to
make her his own grows stronger by the hour…but opening his heart to love may forever close the door on his quest for revenge.