Fairy Tales Gone Darkly!

Fairy tales…

Good ones?

Are suppose to be dark.

And because they are…

[via howstuffworks] 10 Fairy Tales That Were Way Darker Than You Realized as a Kid

If you grew up watching classic Disney movies such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella,” or reading the Little Golden Book version of “Pinocchio,” you’re probably accustomed to thinking of fairy tales as wholesome entertainment for young children.

That’s why it may come as a shock to watch “Snow White” again as an adult and realize that it’s a bit macabre. For example, when the jealous queen orders the huntsman to kill Snow White, she demands that he bring back the girl’s heart in a jewel box as evidence of his violent deed. And that’s just the relatively sanitized, Disney-fied version. In the early 19th-century version published by the German brothers Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, the queen wants to devour Snow White’s lungs and liver .

The original versions of most of these fantasy stories are filled with plot twists that belong in a modern slasher film. In part, that’s because fairy tales didn’t start out as children’s stories, but rather as tawdry folktales that grownups told for entertainment after the kids went to bed.

When the Grimms published their first edition of “Nursery and Household Tales” in two volumes in 1812 and 1815, they aimed it at adults [sources: New Yorker, Meslow]. Only after disappointing sales did they decide to tone down the material and make it suitable for kids. The tales mostly came from friends and relatives, which the brothers significantly revised. Many were variations of French fairy tales already written by people like Charles Perrault.

But even after the authors sanitized them, they didn’t totally eliminate the scary stuff. That’s because fairy tales were intended not just to entertain children, but also to educate them about the consequences of evil deeds . Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, for one, argued that the creepy stuff helps children to grow emotionally, by allowing them to grapple with fears that are a part of growing up.

Here are 10 fairy tales that are far more disturbing than you realized as a kid.

10: Pinocchio

When you think back to the 1940 Disney version of “Pinocchio,” you probably remember the puppet’s nose growing to indicate fibs, and his cute little pal Jiminy Cricket, who sings the movie’s memorable song “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

But as Time magazine critic Richard Corliss notes: “The movie also taught moral lessons in the most useful way, by scaring the poop out of the little ones.” The script emphasizes, for example, the dangers of running away from home and falling into the clutches of an evil adult. As kidnapper Stromboli tells Pinocchio, “When you grow too old, you will make good firewood.” But the film’s source material, an 1883 story by Carlo Collodi, is even more disturbing. When Pinocchio is teased about his wooden head by his cricket companion, the enraged puppet throws a hammer and kills him….

[Read More – See All 10 Fairy Tales Here!]

Forget Disney and try to go out and find you a REAL fairy tale.

One, that although the ending maybe “happy”…

It takes some macabre twists in order to get there.

And that my friends?

Is what makes these fairy tales of old so delightfully delicious!

Penny Willan

The little niche book that would, will become the little niche book that could!

Penny Willan and the Well

cropped-penny-willan.jpg

Is. Now. PUBLISHED!

And for those of you who think you might be interested enough to check it out, let me warn you…

It is every different from ANYTHING out there now.

It is very niche.

Very.

Probably stemming from the fact that is has a wide array of influencing elements.

To say I hate spiders? Understatement. To me, they are everything that is evil in this world. Everything that is dark, hairy, crawly, and fangy. What’s not to loathe? They creep me out and in real-world ways that no fictional serial slasher, like Michael Myers, ever could. Also? Not a fan of being in nature. Don’t be me wrong, I love the peace of it, I love the isolation of it, I love looking at it; there are times, like right after a nice, light rain, that I even love smelling it, but being in it? Nope. Not a fan. Too much going on out IN it, that I can’t see, nor control, and I don’t like that. (Yes, yes… I have control issues. What of it?) Plus, I walked, face-first, into a HUGE spider web one night, while out in nature years ago, and well, what can I say… It left an impression.

[Source]

Or, well, the huge spider I clutched in my hand, as I flung it from me, as I screamed into the night, once I caught it crawling on my face, trying to crawl into my mouth, to, you know, probably to eat my soul, but hey… Purely supposition on my part.

That’s a few things that I don’t like, which has influenced me. What I DO like?

I am a HUGE, old school fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy Summers (the title character on the show) was a character a girl could look up to. She wasn’t a simpering damsel wasn’t waiting to be rescued. Oh, no… SHE did the rescuing. SHE did the wooing… And she did it with style, swag and sassiness. She saved the world… A lot. Strong, fun female leads are so rare. I guess that’s why I cherish this one so much and why it stays ever so beloved, no matter the passage of time.

I adore the atmosphere found in the classic monster movies Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Mummy. That classic Gothic feel, of otherworldly darkness. A place of monsters and darkness, but told in such a way one can’t help but appreciate the romance of them.

I love original fairy tales. Not the watered down versions as told by Disney, but the original tales as told, for example, by Hans Christian Andersen. In their original form, fairy tales were cautionary in purpose. They were meant to serve as warnings for those foolish enough to embark upon life choices the majority where not in favor of. They were dark, often twisted and yet somehow, oddly enough, at the end of them? The reader was often left still OK with the result.

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I have such a blast watching horror movies, Edgar Allan Poe is the poet I am most often drawn too, I live for the thrummy beat of rock and roll, both lyrics and beat, The Monkey’s Paw still scares me in ways I cherish… I love the history channel and its documentaries, the concept of the seven deadly sins has always fascinated me, I enjoy contemplating how others view moralistic choices via philosophy and theology …I love the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, I love that feeling I get in my chest, when my heart melts after reading a good love story and I love how my pulse races when I can dive into a good book that has an epic battle, where ultimate evil and ultimate good are the two opposing foes.

[Source]

So much of who I am, so much of what I dislike and so much of what I love all played a part in the creation of my book, Penny Willan and the Well. I loved writing, though at times I never thought I would never get finished. I loved creating it, though at times I felt I was putting far too much into it that people would not pick up on.

Ultimately, I wrote this book for one person.

Me.

I wrote a book I desperately desired to read, when another could not be found.

And I enjoyed the whole, maddening process of it, every part, immensely.

It is my fervent hope, that you might as well.

Take a chance, try it out, see if you can see any of the things that I love and adore mentioned above that so influenced my while writing it and you might find this little niche book that would, will become the little niche book that could…

Find its way to your own list of things you love and adore that might one day influence you.

Who knows… and before you scoff?

Stranger things have happened.

[Source – Groundhog Day]

Writing Tips from the Master, J. R. R. Tolken!

Check out these ten tips for writers…

from J. R. R. Tolken:

[via writersinthestormblog]10 Tips from the “Master of Middle Earth”:

1. Vanity is useless.
Truly, Tokien wrote his books to please himself and answer the writer inside him. He expected them to go “into the waste-paper basket” after they left his desk, not live on in popular culture. I’m not saying we don’t need to learn good story craft however, if you entertain yourself, at least you know one person that enjoyed the hell out of your book.

2. Keep writing, even through adversity.
It took the man SEVEN years to write The Hobbit. He balanced a demanding day job, illness, and worry for his son who was away in the Royal Navy. I’m reminded of Laura Drake, her brick wall, and her 400+ rejections.

3. Listen to critics you trust.
When his editor said, “Make it better,” he didn’t throw the advice away. He read and re-read, and he tried his best.

He credits listening to knowledgeable feedback, and working to make it better, for what he considered the best scene in the Lord of the Rings: “the confrontation between Gandalf and his rival wizard, Saruman, in the ravaged city of Isengard.” Oh, and the editor he listened to? C.S. Lewis, the creator of the Chronicles of Narnia.

4. Let your interests drive your writing.
Tolkien’s original interest was in languages. He took that and created new languages, and then an entire culture, around it. Our own contributor, Kathryn Craft, was a dancer, choreographer, and dance critic. She tapped all that experience to write The Art of Fallingexploring themes of love, dance, friendship, and distorted body image. that passion and truth will resonate with readers.

5. Poetry can lead to great prose.
When he could not express his thoughts in the prose he wished for, he wrote much of it in verse. Authors as diverse as Charlotte Brontë and Langston Hughes started in poetry before moving to longer mediums. Next time you get stuck, you might try Tolkien’s trick of writing your scene as a poem first.

6. Happy accidents.
No matter how much you plan, happy accidents occur on the pages of every book. Jennifer Crusie calls it “the girls in9a530db686f4e2a503c59e3d2f7e180b the basement,” saying they hand her up treasures as she writes. Others might call it “the muse.”

One more kick in the pants from our own Laura Drake:  If you don’t put your butt in the chair and do the work, you won’t have any “happy accidents.”

[Read More – See All Ten Tips HERE!]

 

The moment draws near… With new ‘Penny Willan and the Well’ excerpt!

I enjoy reading fairy tales.

Well, maybe I should say, I enjoy reading fairy tales before they were hijacked by Disney. Not that there is anything wrong with a nice, pretty ‘Happily Ever After’ in a story, there isn’t. I like dancing mice, talking crabs and funny snowmen as much as the next person.

But with my nice HEA, I want some substance, some grit and some dark spicy flavor. What I love, when it comes to fairy tales, are the dark, tragic cautionary tales of old. Fairy tales, originally? Were meant to be scary. So scary in fact, just hearing them would strike fear in the hearts of every child who heard them, to prevent them from partaking in certain activities their parents warned them against… activities such as talking to strangers, wandering far from home, the hazards of pride and the perils of love.

I miss the days of fairy tales of old, when one was unsure of the outcome of the story. When you questioned, fretted and grew anxious about the end.

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Imagine, if you will…

Being haunted, hunted, by a magic so dark you know no escape. All of your life lay veiled, shadowed and coldly brittle, by a voracious entity who has been after you as long as you can remember. From a time born in the cusp of your childhood, and hence forever since, this evil specter has reached for you with clawed talons. It has craved you with malicious intent. Thus far, the strength of your valor has held the monster at bay, but you know it waits for the moment when the weakness of your sinful desires will release from Hell the wrath of all its abhorrent desires down upon you.

And that moment draws near.

March 10th, 2015.

Penny Willan and the Well, will be released and the fairy tale description of ode above, will not have to be imagined…

No, by you it will be experienced.

And hopefully?

Enjoyed.

Excerpt, Penny Willan and the Well, Book of Pride

The night strummed with resolve,
into the night Guy dissolved,
from his brother’s retribution he did flee.
Knowing Penny would tell
of his attack, which she befell,
his brother would enact vengeance for she.

Chanted whispers slithered through tress,
the air hissed of the coming, so pleased,
from a dark power disjointed and broken.
The Hell-well called to Guy,
with a lyrical chanting cry
of malicious dreams bespoken.

The moon was shaded red,
from blood-light the night fed,
a celebration of powers soon returned.
Wolves howled loudly, they screamed,
and their prey quickly gleamed
ill needs upon them would be churned.

The wind whispered, so cold,
and within it foretold
of the evils it was about to impart.
The air trickled with ice,
that gripped the lungs in a vise,
from the mortal ‘twas about to outsmart.

A return to fairy tales of Ode

Coming soon!

Stay tuned…

More excerpts to come.

Penny Willan and the Well, excerpt from the book of Wrath!

Excerpt from, Penny Willan and the Well:

 

Love is the most terrifying of emotions,
for it can inspire acts of devotions,
born of the heart or a dark night of a soul.
The worst of them is wrath,
which is born on the behalf
of fears just waiting to take hold.

wrath [Pic Source]

With love ‘tis simpler to fear,
that what you hold so dear,
but if you concede, the price might be your life.
Trust that love it will find you,
because if love is true it will bind you
forever to a treasure that’s without a price.

For ‘tis true love has the power,
which can seek and devour
an opposing strength, no matter how dark the might.
Love can break terrifying curses,
brought upon by wrath, which nurses,
pure evil brought upon by fear and avarice.

But to benefit love’s power,
one must trust in it, not cower,
believe in it and its power is yours to wield.
For no evil can withstand,
the strength of love’s high command,
when love is brandished defiant and unconcealed.

So, now the well does it wait,
for your penny with astounding hate,
though dormant, ‘tis not fully at rest.
Never doubt soon ‘twill come a time,
when another mortal’s sins will unbind,
the fetters cursed at true love’s behest.

Stay tuned…

More excerpts to come.

Release date, March 10th, 2015.

Be ready for it!

Childhood, bedtime, bedtime stories and… The Well!

Childhood, bedtime and stories are three things that if not always go hand-in-hand…

They darn well should.

Growing up, my nephews were two loveable scamps who just loved to be read to. To this day I remember curling up with them, and reading to them one of their favorite books as I settled them down for the night. Then reading it to them again…Then “once more”, cause once was never enough.

I look back on those long-ago nights, with the sentimental fondness born of cherished memories. I remember the excitement of the boys as we selected a book from their shelves, I remember the coziness of a good bedtime snuggle, and I even remember the stories. And speaking of those stories? There are definitely some that stuck with me far more than others.

The question of “why” got me thinking. Why is it, HOW is it, I can remember certain stories that I read fifteen years ago, and recall them line by line, to this very day, and not others? What makes these particular stories stand out?

Quite simply?

It’s not the subject… It’s the beat. Their rhythm…Their rhyme.

There is an abject rhyming majesty in their simplicity in stories devised for bedtime reading. And because there is… I remember them. And remember them long after I should have forgotten them.

According a study by the Journal of Psychology it’s the repetitive nature, in beat and lyric, which makes a SONG a “hit”. It is because once heard, once connected with the song? Our brain understands it, and is drawn TO it. Craves it.

[Source]

Why then, one must ask themselves, wouldn’t the same apply to writing a piece that is read? Especially if beats and lyrics, are repeated enough in the written piece to cause a “Mere Exposure Effect”?

Answer is: It would.

Our brain longs for that which it recognizes. Ever heard a song that sounds “familiar” to you, though you have never heard it before? If you have, you will also know that very song will become an instant, and a forever favorite.

The same can be said for that which you read.

My desire, as an author, was to try to recreate this instant recognition, connection and acceptance with my story Penny Willan and the Well.

If it’s a task accomplished? Well, that would be up to you to decide…

Penny Willan and the Well, Excerpt:

The Demon Envy said, “Girl, I remember well,
ye, who I flung from Hell,
and not a day has passed, I haven’t missed
the loss of your soul that I mourned,
I’ve been bereft and forlorn,
for the sweet taste of your flesh I’ve yet to kiss.

But no worries—bygones,
that’s the past—long gone,
I don’t hold a grudge, no, in no way.
And though your family they did swindle
my joy of flaying ye on a spindle,
I begrudge ye not a little, so let’s play.

So, merely toss your token in my well,
and all your dreams I will unveil,
for ye alone, them I’ll grant.
Come closer, little Penny,
your hands I know are not empty,
ye have something I truly want.”

 

The March 10th, worldwide release date of Penny Willan and the Well creeps ever closer.

I hope you are as excited for it as I am.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more excerpts…

The Well is coming!

[Source]

The Waltz Beckons… With A New “Penny Willan…” Excerpt!

When was the last time that you read a book, a section of a story, and had to pause your reading out of sheer appreciation for what you just read? A time where you caught that special rhythm, that majestic beat, that flow of words that dances through your head like an operatic symphony? It is the rare author who can, not only capture this magic, but convey it.

There can be true artistry in the written word, if a story is written with passion. Words should be felt, not merely read. They should be sung in your head like a song, while you gasp out in awe, with a whispered gush, at the vision they convey.

Good writing is enjoyed, but great writing? It should be an event… A moment mentally experienced, and one that will henceforth impress upon you, like a long-held cherished memory, etched forever into the fabric of your being via a reality from an author’s inspired, composed creation:

“As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder bushes.

The waltz begins

The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.” ~Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hallow

Anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming an author, aspires to this. They want to create, conduct, with their imagination something so great as to leave a lasting impact on their readers, long after they’ve read it. And, if their passion is great enough, their desire strong enough, they will find success in the lyrical flow of words they inscribe. These authors will touch you, move you, with the musical cadence of words that pours from their hearts, spilled out on to the page, with the hope that you will enjoy the waltz that they have devised for you, as much as they enjoyed composing it .

Simply this: My great hope is that from Penny Willan and the Well, you will find a waltz worth dancing to.

Excerpt:

“Separated from man,
alone does it stand,
a wishing well aged by time.
Made of hoary stone,
dead weeds ingrown,
dirty and covered with grime.

It sits in a dale,
a sinister vale,
amongst a shroud of trees.
Detached from society,
long had it the notoriety
of dark magic, an evil disease.

There’s those who know,
when into the forest they go,
avoid the wishing well.
‘Tis a place full of evil,
one that feeds on upheaval,
and all at the avarice of Hell.

So, dare not you heed,
the insidious need,
to drop your penny inside,
for Hell it will lash,
your wishes ‘twill cash,
dark torments to never subside.

The wishing well depends,
on your soul for its sins,
to trap you in Hell’s snare.
And with them ‘twill hasten,
your soul to damnation,
passersby ye beware.”

The Well waltz beckons… March 10, 2015.

More excerpts to come. Stay tuned!