Tag Archives: snow white

Snow on sale: Ltd Time ONLY!

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Snow can’t wait to finally get out from under her stepmother’s control, but only a few weeks away from her birthday and freedom, her stepfather takes her out to the woods and tries to kill her. Now, Snow must figure out who to trust. Or end up dead.

Buy now only 99 cents on Amazon or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

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*****

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

Your Jessica Aspen Starter Library is waiting.

Click HERE¬†to discover Jessica Aspen’s fast-paced world of paranormal romance

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DISCLOSURE: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and purchase. Myself and my coffee fund thank you! ūüôā

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Filed under Book Sales, fairy tales, Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, Snow and the Seventh Wolf, Writer's Journey

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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Find Answers to the Question Everyone Asked

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal Blog

Just a little reminder: if you’ve won a prize, please contact me through my contact box and send me your address, so I can ship your prize. You can check the list HERE.

Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen

With the advent of Little Red Riding Wolf I’ve been zipping around the blogs, and there have been some inventive and challenging questions. But there have also been some questions that every blogger asks in their interview.

What made you write this story? or Where did you get your inspiration? or Why twist a fairy tale? or Where do you get your ideas?

It seems we are fascinated by the idea of creation, especially story creation.

I, of course, started with the seed of a story from a traditional fairy tale. Actually most of my finished works are twisted fairy tales. Why? Well not only is it easier to start with a framework, I think it’s fun. Fun to take a classic story, strip it to it’s bones and re-flesh it with your own ideas.

I’m doing that now with the sequel to Little Red Riding Wolf. I’m taking Seth, a character from Little Red, who has really taken on the role of the Big Bad Wolf and morphing him into the prince. Taking a¬†villain¬†and changing him into a hero is a challenge, but changing him into a character that doesn’t even really have much of a role in the story is even tougher. There are very few bones for Seth.

But while I don’t have much structure to play with (Do you even remember the Prince in Snow White? He comes in and saves her with a kiss.) that means I have a ton of flexibility. I can make up as I go. And that gives melot’s of play, extra rope to hang him , or to rescue him.

Since I’m really adding an entire character arc to the story I need to make sure that my other twisted character arcs have a strong relation to the original. When you twist too far people can’t recognize the old story, and funnily enough, that can be upsetting. I have another story that I entered in a contest, and it is obviously a twisted fairy tale, but when I introduced less elements from the story one person got upset. They felt that if I was going to twist a tale, I should stick to it. Needless to say that’s not the point of twisting fairy tales, but what is the point?

As I play with Snow White and write Snow and the Seventh Wolf I find that staying within a familiar story line gives us the structure, taking it out of the familiar gives us the interest. It’s that balance that keeps us hooked.

Leaving you today with the trailer from Mirror Mirror, another twist on Snow White. Looks to be very fun!

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Taking the Grim out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

A few weeks ago I went to the library for a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I went to the trusty computer and typed in the name, and about a hundred titles came up. Most of them picture books for children that didn’t have all the stories in them, but were also lacking something else. They’d taken the grim out of Grimm.

I was particularly looking for Snow White, the fairy tale that I’ve twisted before and am twisting again as a sequel to Little Red Riding Wolf. You likely won’t be surprised to find that out of all those books, most of them had been sanitized.

I think it started with Disney. Snow White was the first full length major film for Disney. (Wikipedia’s info on Snow White HERE) A lot was riding on it’s success. Would people go see a long cartoon? Were they interested in a story that had been told many times? Maybe they were looking for a more exciting ending, but I think it’s more likely that they were horrified at the ending where the Queen is locked in red hot iron shoes and dances till she dies.

Yep, fairy tales are not for children, that’s for sure. In the translations from the German that I read it’s only one line. I as a reader, would have liked more explanation. Why red hot slippers? Was this a common punishment for attempted murder or treason? From my modern perspective the ending lacks an¬†explanation¬†that would make me understand why the Queen would go to the wedding at all, knowing what her fate is to be.¬†But she goes, and¬†naturally¬†has to step into the pre-prepared slippers and be tortured.

I say naturally, because when you read through the entire collection of tales you realize that we have taken the horror out of the fairy tales. Our children live in a different age. We no longer go to hangings as entertainment, or throw food at people locked into xxx on the square. And we definitely don’t expose children to the idea that bad deeds, or even minorly¬†careless ones, are punished by torture and death.

But that is exactly what the Grimm’s did. So when looking for inspiration I go looking for the original fairy tales. What pieces of the story are¬†germane¬†to the tale. What will readers be looking for? Do you have to have seven dwarfs? In the Russian version it’s seven brawny woodsmen. Do you have to have a glass coffin? What about the apple? In the original version there are three chances for the Queen to kill the princess. A tight corset, a poisoned comb and the apple. But the only one we really remember is the apple. Do we thank Disney for that?

What about the Queen’s¬†comeuppance? Should I have my queen dancing at the end of the book? Disney didn’t, but do you remember what did happen? In true 1930’s style she is struck by lightning while trying to lever a giant rock onto the seven dwarfs. She falls off a cliff and the rock follows her. ¬†Death by the hand of God. No torture involved.

I have to say I had to find it and watch it to remember how the Queen died. It isn’t memorable. But those red hot iron shoes? I remembered them years later. What impression do you want to leave with your endings? How dark is your fairy tale? Would it compete with the Grimm’s stories?

Giveaways through the end of the month, click HERE to enter. Leave a comment daily to enter more than once!

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Filed under fairy tales, Thursdays Bite