Tag Archives: fairy tales

Broken Mirror, Book Three Tales of the Black Court, RELEASED!

Fantastic Friday

a blog for paranormal fantasy romance lovers

If you’ve been waiting to find out what happened to Cassie, it’s time! BROKEN MIRROR released today in ebook form on Kobo, ibooks, Barnes and Noble, and of course, Amazon.

I’ll be putting it up on All Romance Ebooks over the weekend, and I’m busy proofing the print version, so never fear, print is near!

Broken Mirror cover art by Viola Estrella

Broken Mirror is released!

Squee!

I’m so excited to have this book finally out. It’s taken longer than I thought, but I persevered and it’s here. And one of the best things for me about this fantasy romance is the ending. I don’t want to give spoilers, but I love the ending of this book. When I wrote THE DARK HUNTSMAN I thought there would only be three books in this series. But I’ve figured out that I’m going to write two more! That’s good news for you and good news for me.

Meet Cassie, my last MacElvy cousin

I love all the MacElvy’s but for those of you who love spunky heroines, Cassie is stellar! You can get a really good idea of her character in her backstory novella THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR, A Fantasy Tale of the Black Court. Or you can just read BROKEN MIRROR and find out how terrific she is. I love what happens to Cassie in this book because unlike my other two books, Cassie is already a strong person. She’s had to be. She’s a mirror, a psychic, and dealing with having the Goddess hijack her body and use her to give out premonitions is a scary thing. It comes with migraines and a loss off control and somehow the messages are not always received like they should be by certain family members.

Cassie’s gift has kept her and her immediate family alive—so far—but that’s put to the test when she meets her match at the end of PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE. If you haven’t read that one, I won’t spoil it for you, but FYI, it’s a cliffhanger and you’ll want to jump right into BROKEN MIRROR afterwards. I didn’t mean for it to be such a cliffhanger, but sometimes when you write fantasy, things happen. The romance is all good and of course Bryanna and Kian find their HEA, so it’s satisfying, but I know fans wanted Cassie’s story. So here it is!

Bosco, bad boy hero

I admit it. I love the bad boys and Bosco is one of them. He’s had a rough background and his sister is a prisoner of the White Queen, so he has some excuse. But it doesn’t change the fact that he is determined to rescue his sister, Siobhan (pronouched Sh-Vaan), and if Cassie is in his way, that’s too bad. He has to think of Siobhan first.

Or does he?

Cassie may be the means to an end for Bosco, but spending time with her he’s intrigued by her spirit and how she copes with how her fate has been twisted by the Black Queen of the Fae. As the puzzle of Cassie is revealed, and Bosco and Cassie’s fates are entwined together, he finds himself struggling more and more with his dilemma. Rescue his sister? Or save Cassie. And of course, falling in love is going to ruin all of his plans.

Broken Mirror, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court

Book three Tales of the Black Court

A false princess, the court trickster, and a magic spell, woven together with a frog prince twist.

Cassie MacElvy believes she’s a fae princess, but her life of pretty gowns and constant parties is an illusion. Trapped in a twisted spell, Cassie uses her psychic Gift to help the Black Queen hunt down the rebel Prince Kian and his human wife, never knowing she’s hunting her own sister. But when a handsome blackeyed fae kisses her, the fairy tale begins to crumble, and she tumbles down into a confused rabbit hole of memories and magic. 

Bosco is the court’s fool and a womanizer, but secretly he’s a spy, looking for a missing human psychic. All he has to do is find her and hand her over to his mysterious employer, and he’ll finally have enough power to complete a quest he started nearly a hundred years ago. When he runs into a beautiful fae princess who shouldn’t exist, he knows something is very wrong in the Queen’s court. But lovely Cassie might be the only person who can help him achieve his quest, and Bosco decides he will root out all of Cassie’s secrets, even if it means losing her trust.

Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in book three of her fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court

Amazon http://amzn.com/B00VQWZC0Y

AllRomance Ebooks

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/broken-mirror-jessica-aspen/1122053350?ean=2940152205114

Ibooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1001430294

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/broken-mirror-1

Add to Goodreads Shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25695636-broken-mirror-a-fantasy-romance-of-the-black-court

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

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Filed under Broken Mirror, fairy tales, Fantastic Fridays, Tales of the Black Court

My Writing Process Blog Tour-Jessica Aspen Style

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers and readers

This is the next stop on the My Writing Process Blog Tour, and I want to thank Joan Leacott for inviting me to this tour. Thanks, Joan! If you didn’t come here from Joan’s site I would like to introduce you to her lovely contemporary romances set in Clarence Bay, Canada. If you love complex family dynamics, intertwined relationships, and  quite simply, romance, then check out Joan’s first book Above Scandal, HERE. And to find out about Joan’s writing process, click HERE.

Now for my writing process.

1) What am I working on?
Currently I am working on the third book in my Tales of the Black Court series. Book one: The Dark Huntsman came out in October 2013 and book two: Prince by Blood and Bone is off to the final editor. (Whew!) I am in the process of just starting book three: Broken Mirror which will complete the trilogy and tell the tale of the last MacElvy cousin, Cassie. I’m currently working on the outline, and while I have some ideas for this book that I’ve known I want to work on for a long time, I’m not really ready to give you all the details. All I’ll say is that if you’ve read the books, you’ve met the hero already. Hint, he’s fae and a member of the Black Court.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have two different series of twisted fairy tales out, each one has it’s own unique twists and turns. Tales of the Black Court takes place in both the modern world and the fae world between the worlds of Underhill. While I use fairy tales as a scaffolding for my plots, I never stick exactly to the classic tales. There are no traditional princesses, my evil queen is not the only true evil in the court, and the prince is never what he seems. What you will find are elements of the fairy tales: Poisoned apples, enchanted beasts, and psychics who are actually magic mirrors.

In my other fairy tale series I write about modern day shapeshifters hidden in the Colorado Rockies. These tales are contemporary twists of the old tales. In my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series you’ll find werewolves and werebears as well as glimpses of the classic fairy tale elements. A great example is in Snow and the Seventh Wolf, the step-mother is an online talk show host of a show called The Queen of Bitch. I love the tongue in cheek elements I’ve been able to insert into these spicy, new adult tales.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I started twisting fairy tales because I’ve always loved the way authors have done this. I’ve read fairy tales, and fairy tale twists for years, but at the time I started there weren’t many romance writers doing it. Now there are many and I love to explore how each of us can take the exact same story and twist it a different way. I’ve even twisted the same story, Snow White, in both of my series, and I expect that will happen again as I explore the next trilogy planned for my court series and also continue to play in the woods with my shape-shifters. I like both types of stories and I don’t think I’ll be giving either up soon!

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process has changed over the last few years. I used to be a total seat-of-the-pantser. I wrote both Little Red Riding Wolf and The Dark Huntsman by just sitting down and letting go. But they both required extensive editing for plot, as well as time spent thinking about what might come next and I realized that if I continued to write that way, I’d be writing very slow. So I’ve changed now. I go through a plotting process called The Snowflake Method, by Randy Ingermanson. (I’ve written several posts on this, you can find some of them HERE, and HERE.)

The Snowflake Method is a very quick outline of what your story is going to look like overall and doesn’t take much time. After a week or two I have a great scaffold for my story to rest on. Next I write a fast draft, NANOWRIMO style, getting as many words down on the page without worrying too much about mistakes, or details. If I need to do some research, I make a note on the side of my document. All of these notes and the fleshing out part comes with the next draft. Draft two: I refine the plot, fill in the blanks, and add words. Usually about twenty percent more than the original draft.

Then comes the editing. I go through each chapter line by line before sending it to my crit partner, ML Guida. She sends it back with little notes like, “Slow down, honey.” or “I don’t understand this.” or “Yes, you got that one right!”

I go back through that chapter again, then send her the next one. We do that for the entire manuscript and when it’s finished it goes off to my professional editor for developmental edits.

Then it comes back to me. I re-write, make corrections, and send it off to my OOOPS! editor, who catches my grammar and spelling errors, and (hopefully) any weird things like changing hair color.

And then it’s finished! WOOT!

fairy tale rose in mirrorWow! This is a super long post on my writing process. This blog hop is an exponential blog hop. Every time an author is chosen, she’s supposed to choose three more authors, but that means that at some point most authors have already participated. I’m coming in at that point, so instead of three new authors with brand new writing processes, I’m going to direct you to a few  you might have missed on the tour. Authors Lizzie T. Leaf asked me to participate, as did author Elaine Cougler and Lynn Cahoon, and for various reasons I had to decline. Please check out these authors blogs and enjoy what they have to say about their writing processes.

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft

Seven Men to Twist and Bend

Thursdays Bite

a blog on fairytales

Business first! I’m a guest on fellow Colorado Romance Author  Cynthia Woolf’s blog, featuring The Dark Huntsman. It ran yesterday, but you can still hop on by and post a comment. Also, I have a 99cent sale coming up in December and it’s not just my book! I Read Fantasy! is having two days of sales and The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, will be on day two, so keep your eyes open for that opportunity. 

Fantasy Romance Holiday Promotion #1 will run Dec 4-7.

Fantasy Romance Holiday Promotion #2  will run Dec 11-14.  (The Dark Huntsman will be on this one.)

Now on to the blog:

Russian Fair Tale BookOne of my favorite twists of Snow White is old,and it’s difficult to tell which came first, the German one the Grimms set on paper or this one. Set in Russia Snow flees the evil step-mother and takes shelter with seven studly woodcutters. Not dwarves. Sometimes the men are noble knights, who take care of the princess. We think the tales are set in stone but when they were told around fires they were changed a little every time. It’s not until we set them in paper that they hold a static shape.

That’s one of the reasons when I twisted my tales of Snow White I chose to take different routes. From young sexy werewolves to  still sexy, thousand year old fae, I chose this section of the tale to stray from the story line. I kept the number seven, kept the idea of seven men living together in the wilderness, but changed them up.

Snow and the Seventh Wolf has a cabin full of young, hot werewolves, one of which is Seth, my angry alpha hero. They’ve chosen to leave their traditional packs and live closer to humans in a small, tourist area of Wyoming. Set in the cold, snowy mountains I now have six more men who could possibly have their own shape-shifter fairy tale twists, and in fact I think they are anxious to find their mates. From oldest to youngest, from the responsibly leader to the computer geek, women are not far from their minds and hearts.Snow and the Seventh Wolf by Jessica Aspen

I took a different route with The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court. The seven brothers of the Fir Bolg are older, and are Logan’s uncles. They’ve been enemies of the Tuatha De Danann for thousands of years and have strong reasons to hate the queen. I chose to only write about two of them, mostly because it became a challenge to differentiate between seven men in one scene. I had a fun seen with one in an apron cooking breakfast for Trina, but I ended up cutting it and the story is better for it, but maybe someday I’ll detail all their personalities.

So how else can you twist this tale? Could you do seven grumpy women? How about seven nuns cloistered on a mountain hilltop and a lost hero? Would you chose to go with the dwarves we are all familiar with? Or are you thinking about the possibility of seven sexy woodcutters and one lost lonely princess?

That’s what I love about choosing one element in a classic tale and changing it up. All our stories go back to a few common tales and whether you change the apple to a peach or maybe to peach jam, or you change the hero to a heroine, the choices are endless. Keep the number seven and a piece of fruit, a lost lonely girl and an evil step-parent and no matter how you twist it, it’s still Snow White. Or is it?

Who are you interested in for seven characters? Would you pick seven Valley Girls and a lost boy? Or seven frat boys and a fleeing snow boarder? What about seven men locked in a cabin for a business retreat and a lost supermodel?

Book two in the Tales of the Black Court will be coming out soon! Sign up for my newsletter for information on Prince by Blood and Bone and other special events. 

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Filed under Fae, fairy tales, paranormal inspiration, Snow and the Seventh Wolf, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, werecreatures

Promises Made, But Not Kept, by Snow White and the Huntsman

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

When a writer, or a director, puts together a story they make promises to their audience. They layer story questions, create familiar patterns, and use story structure to lure us into their world. When you take a common story it’s even more important to stay true to your promises. Why? Because you have chosen to present a story that people think they know.

snow white and the huntsmanThat’s right. We think we know Snow White.

Ask most people and they will respond that Snow White is a romance. It’s not. Oh, it has all the elements. Young beautiful girl, handsome prince, the kiss. Oh, and the happy ending. We all know that there should be a HEA. Right? Maybe. In the original Snow White the happy ending is not when the prince, (who by the way has never seen Snow White before) kisses her dead lips and wakes her from her sleep. It’s not when he marries her and sweeps her off to live in the castle. The actual ending is when the Evil Queen is danced to death in her red hot iron shoes. That’s a Grimm HEA.

(I’m choosing to insert my spoiler alert here. By now, I hope most of you have seen this movie or chosen not to, so if you are planning on still seeing it, watch out!)

But what’s important is that we all think Snow White is a romance. Why? It’s what we want from fairy tales. They make a promise. Snow White and the Huntsman made promises. And all the way through the movie they are left broken. From the outset we expect a HEA. That promise is made by twisting Snow White, a romance, so if you are making the decision not to give the audience the big HEA, you had better give them a satisfying movie. But all the way through there are moments where the audience says, wait, she was supposed to…

For example, when Gus the dwarf dies (I did post the spoiler alert!)  Snow rushes to his side and comforts him. For some reason I expected her to sing to him. I don’t know why, I just did. But she didn’t. Okay, no problem. But I also expect her to kiss his forehead. Why? Once again I can’t tell you why. Something about the direction of the scene felt like she should kiss him. As an author I can say that it would foreshadow the kiss at the end that wakes up Snow from her own pseudo-death, but as a movie goer, I just wanted the kiss. And I felt let down when it didn’t happen. What’s more, my daughter sitting next to me said out loud, “She should have kissed him. This is one of the moments in the movie, Mom, where you think something should happen and it doesn’t. It’s one of the reasons I felt let down when I left the movie.”

Wow.

I sat there thinking it (we rented it, the girls had already seen it) and my daughter (seventeen, and the target audience for this movie) said it. We felt let down. And it was only the middle of the movie.

I’ll skip the small let down moments throughout the film. Let’s just say that there were several points where I just felt something should happen, and it didn’t. And all of us agreed on those points. (Yes, we talk about the movie and analyze it as we watch. That’s what happens in a writing family.) But the worst was the ending. There was no HEA!

Wait a minute! Was the Evil Queen killed? Yes, she was. Was Snow White restored to her throne? Yes, she was. Did she avoid the secondary romance to the guy who looked like he should be the romantic interest, but really wasn’t? (ie, the stand in for the prince, William) Yes, she did. Or wait. We don’t know. We think she did, but I suspect that after the movie she succumbed to political pressure and married him.

What???

Okay, so the title led me to believe that this was a romance between, you guessed it, Snow White and the Huntsman. That’s the movie title. They didn’t call it, Snow White and the Queen. They didn’t title it Snow White Kicks Ass. They didn’t title it, Come See This Romance and Get Let Down. It was supposed to be about Snow White, the Huntsman, and their romance. We all knew it. The title told us so. A big promise made.

chris hemsworthAnd that was the build up within the movie. All through the movie you can see, yes, she should be in love with William, her child hood friend and social equal. But she’s not. She falls in love with the rough edged (and very hot) Chris Hemsworth. The director took two very popular leading stars and put them together, showed them falling in love, and then at the end. Nada.

William (the prince stand-in) kisses her dead lips, and she’s still dead. The Huntsman kisses her, and she wakes up! True love, right? That’s what we expect. But at the end, when she becomes queen, he’s lurking in the background of the court, and William is up front, waiting to step in and marry her. That’s the end. NO HEA FOR ME! Or my teen age daughters. We, all of us romantics, were let down.

Why would the director make this decision? Why promise us the HEA all the way through the movie, then leave Bella (ooops, sorry) Snow up on the dias alone?

I don’t know.

All I can think of is he (I have to check, it was a male director, right? Yes, of course it was.) thought there were too many barriers between a Princess and a low-born huntsman to marry. So what? YOU PROMISED!

We believed you when Snow (who has been locked in the same cell since she was a child) escapes. We accepted (okay, we all questioned it, but moved on) when there was a pure white horse waiting for her on the beach. And even though she’s never exercised, ridden a horse, or wielded a sword, we let it go when she dons mail and leads the army to the castle. Why? Because the HEA would be coming and we would feel satisfied. All the broken promises and leaps of faith would be forgiven. But that didn’t happen.

Don’t do this with your book. If you promise your readers a certain action, then deliver. You can twist the action. Snow White could have abdicated the throne and run off with the Huntsman. William could have spoke up and fought for her to marry whomever she pleased. It doesn’t matter how you do it. If you’ve promised it to us, we will believe you when you deliver. So deliver.

Deliver on the small promises too. Not kissing Gus, or singing to him was a let-down, right when we should be immersed in the world of the movie. These small let-downs are why readers (and movie goers) say, “I just didn’t love it.” That’s the way I felt after the movie. I liked it. The special effects were amazing. The right pieces were there, but it missed. Many times.

Make those story promises. Make them with your title, your cover, your small and large choices throughout the book. Leave them unanswered for a little while. Make us turn pages fast, looking for those answers. Layer them throughout your book or movie, but fulfill each and every one, big and small, or you’ll find your block buster, busted.

Did you see Snow White and the Huntsman? Did you enjoy it? Were there other moments you picked out as being let-downs? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Click HERE to see how badly I’m doing at NANOWRIMO. Click HERE to discover Little Red Riding Wolf on sale for $3.99 on Passion in Print’s website. (I promise I fulfilled my story promises.)

Love Alpha Males? I’m joining up with the Holiday Gifts of Love blog hop, starting December 14th, details to follow.

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop

Coming December 14th! Prizes galore!

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Filed under fairy tales, paranormal inspiration, writing craft

Why Snow White?

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

When I first started to write twisted fairy tales, no one else was doing it. Okay, that’s not exactly true. There were a few die hard people like me messing around with Grimm’s and Charles Perrault’s works, but not many. Now they are everywhere. Authors who typically write in other areas are twisting tales with a vengeance.

And the movies, wow! How many versions of Snow White does Hollywood think we need. And the crazy thing is that the original Snow White barely has a romance. The prince swoops in at the end, kisses her, and off they go to get married. It’s really about Snow’s relationship to her stepmother. Maybe that’s the reason why out of all of the fairy tales it’s the one the scriptwriters prefer. My Evil Step-mother, a reality movie for a new generation.

We love the idea of the evil step-mother. And even evil mothers. For some reason fairy tales are full of evil mom’s and the dad’s are just side notes. Remember Hansel and Gretel. Dad is a wimp who does whatever the stepmother says. She must have been a hottie for him to abandon his children, not once, but twice.

And on TV, it’s Snow White, again. While Once Upon a Time has all the fairy tales appearing, the central story has been built around Snow White and the evil step-mother. Something about this tale must resonate.

I’ve done it too. My latest book, Snow and the Seventh Wolf release January 2013, is based on Snow White. Why?

I think Snow White has it all. It’s long and has many plot twists. The Queen is a great villain. We understand her need to get rid of the lovey princess due to her vanity. Who likes getting old? And Snow ends up cleaning house for seven little men. Of course in the Russian version its seven handsome woodsmen, but still, that’s a lot of men for one girl to clean up after. And her reputation isn’t sullied in the least. After being in the woods, unaccompanied with all those men, she still gets to marry the prince.

Personally, I think the prince being absent lends itself to all kinds of creativity. We can’t fathom that he just rides in at the end. We want him to be there the whole time; helping Snow sweep mine tailings out from under the beds, or making sure she doesn’t bite the apple. We’re romantics. How could he sweep in and save the day without being there, somehow disguised the whole time as a dwarf?

Snow White has got it all. Mystery. An opportunity to fill in the gaps in the romance. And, of course, the evil step-mother. Who could resist twisting it one more time?

How many versions of Snow Lego Maleficent White are you familiar with? Which is your favorite? Did you go see any of the movies? Mirror, Mirror?  Snow White and the Huntsman? And don’t forget that Angelina Jolie is about to re-create Maleficent for Disney, are you going to go see my favorite villain?

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Filed under fairy tales, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite

What in the BLEEEP Do I Write?

Thursdays Bite (on Friday)

a paranormal blog

Due to the added post on Tuesday for the first challenger of the Third Writers Platform-Building Campaign (click HERE for post) Thursday’s Bite has been delayed till today (Friday). Thanks for your understanding!

I say I write paranormal fiction, but is that exactly true? After reading Is it Paranormal, Supernatural, or Preternatural? by author Elijana Kindel on Paranormal Freebies I began to wonder. I write twisted Fairy Tales, like Little Red Riding Wolf and The Queen’s Huntsman. I also am currently writing a darker non fairytale linked series of werewolf stories. Do these qualify as paranormal by Elijana’s definitions.

PARANORMAL…that which lies outside the range of normal experience or scientific experience.

SUPERNATURAL… anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe.

PRETERNATURAL…that which is outside or beyond the natural and is believed to have a rational explanation for its occurrence.

Are werewolves and elves and witches outside the range of normal experience. I’d have to say yes. Are they outside natural law? I asked Elijana about werewolves and vampires and here is what she said:

“Weres and Vamps would actually fall into the Preternatural camp. Because they’ve got a finite range of abilities and they have (if the paranormal world is built correctly) a rational explanation for their existence. It might be genetic–or magical–or whatever, but there is a reason why they exist.”

So why do we call it “paranormal” fiction when it is really about preternatural creatures?

Here is my view:

It’s because of the universe. If you use our basic universe and our basic rules, stay on our planet and stay (mostly) in our time period. We label it paranormal, because it is within our normal range of experience.

If you go to other worlds without reference to our modern normal world, its fantasy. And if you go to other planets and too much in the future, it’s science fiction and you need to have reasonable solid science (okay, not perfect science, but believable within the worldbuilding).

So when is it urban fantasy?

Here is Wikipedia‘s definition:

Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.[1]

Doesn’t that sound like paranormal? When I looked at Wikipedia’s definition of paranormal fiction it sounded like it included urban fantasy, not that they were separate and distinct genres.

Which leads me to believe that even though my twisted fairy tales have werewolves in a modern setting, as do my newer WIP’s, and even though I write about elves and witches and magic. I can cover it all by calling myself a paranormal romance author.

What is your view? Do you have a distinct idea of what paranormal is versus urban fantasy? Do you only read one or the other or do you read a wide eclectic variety like me?

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Filed under roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite, Werewolves and the Fae

Paranormals: Modern Day Cautionary Tales

Thursdays Bite

A Paranormal Themed Blog

The roots of paranormal stretch deep, far past the gothics of the sixties, past the rise of horror and mystery in the Victorian age all the way to our oldest tales. The ones we know think of as sweet, innocent and only for children. Well, mostly for children. For a long time authors of all genre’s have been twisting the old fairy tales into new dark tales. But the originals were created just as dark, sometimes even horrifying.

I love twisted fairy tales, and have for many years so when I looked for inspiration a few years ago, that is right where I went. The result’s are Little Red Riding Wolf and my novel, The Queen’s Huntsman.

Little Red Riding Wolf, my sensual novella, received an Honorable Mention in Passionate Ink’s Stroke of Midnight contest. Little Red is loosely based on an old French fairy tale called (amazingly enough) Little Red Riding Hood. You may have read it. But you might not have read the original written by a famous French author named Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703). Not as famous as the Grimm brothers he is the author of not only Little Red Riding Hood, but romance’s greatest fairy tale, Cinderella. Unlike sweet Cinderella though, Little Red is a dark tale that Perrault ends with a sinister message.

Fairy tales were the original tales of horror in a time when most people couldn’t read and the only book available in many places was a bible written in Latin. Around the fire stories were told to entertain and to warn children of dark places and dangerous  people. As we know they’ve been watered down over the centuries and likely changed many times to suit the culture. Perrault’s story is a cautionary tale warning little girls not to trust strangers and ends with a lightly veiled warning about pedophiles.

These stories form the roots of romance and horror. Cinderella swept off her feet and out of poverty is first tortured by her evil step-mother and step-sisters. Snow White, sent off to be murdered by her step-mother, only avoids death by the tender feelings of the huntsman, but does he save her? No. He sends her off into the deep dark woods alone. These are the lighter fairy tales, the darker ones (like the Red Shoes) are rooted in death and madness.

Just as in the old world when fairy tales married fantasy and horror, paranormal is the marriage of magic and our modern world. Men live down the street and look normal, but turn into ravaging beasts at the full moon. Evil witch step-mothers from the past morph into modern day  witches and vampires who fight in city streets in a struggle for survival. Are we sending our own warnings?

Are paranormal stories tales of romance or warnings of where you might go if you stray into the dark? We live in one of the safest times in modern history. We don’t need to worry about walking down city streets, or do we? When we live in a time when women are expected to live alone in city apartments and need to get to work, to parties, to the grocery store on their own, are we to tell them its not safe? No, if we do that, no woman would walk alone and our world wouldn’t be the same. Instead we, just like our predecessors, tell our tales. We set up scary situations, thny warn under their happy endings, it’s not safe. Things lurk in the dark.

In paranormal we disguise our murderers as viscous vampires and wild wolves. We create heroes from fear and strong women to take them on. We may not be aware of our role as our society’s warning system, we may only think we are telling stories. But in truth we join a long tradition of using story telling to mask the truth, to sugar coat the threat. But we still do what our ancestors did for thousands of years, sending messages of caution to our readers. Beware the dark stranger. Lock your doors. Don’t venture out at night. Or the bogeyman might eat you.

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Filed under fairy tales, paranormal inspiration, roots of paranormal romance