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Showing posts from August, 2010

Fairy Tale Blogfest: The Six Swans

OK, here is an entry for the Fairy Tale Blogfest that I didn't quite manage to keep within the rules. It is a version of "The Six Swans" written sort of like a crime thriller, but it is about three times too long (3,000 words). So thank you if you choose to read or scan through this story anyway! I decided to join in this 'fest late, so I didn't give myself time to edit for length.

One more warning: This is a dark and disturbing fairy tale, and there is very little sugar coating of it in this version. I have transformed some of the violence into less physical forms of punishment, abuse, or injustice, but not all. I have also moved the tale a little bit back to its "roots" as far as the roles of parental figures by gender. The Grimm Brothers' accounts of the German tales (edited for sale to wealthy males) shifted much of the blame for child neglect or abuse from father figures to mother figures (stepmothers in particular), and victimization was shift…

Fairy Tale Blogfest tomorrow!

Emily White at Stepping into Fantasy is hosting a genre-bending Fairy Tale Blogfest tomorrow. I am suddenly inspired to join in, even though I have written nothing for it. Whee!

This fest requires only a very short tale, 50 to 1000 words. So while Mr. G is out taking a spin on his bike this morning, I am going to attempt to crank something out to enter.

Anybody with me? Readysetgo!

Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

I just finished reading Michelle Davidson Argyle's highly anticipated novella, Cinders, which is now available in ebook and paper formats. Nice work, Michelle!

This was an interesting continuance of the well-known Cinderella tale. Its dark tone and bittersweetness resonate with old versions of the Cinderella story and its sometimes horrific variants. But this is not such a "grim" story; it has just enough grit and heartache to serve as a satisfying counterpoint to the sweet, cute versions of Cinderella popularized in contemporary children's films and books.

Argyle's prose is lovely but clean and smooth. She gives just enough detail in a short format to create a rich backdrop containing many elements of the familiar and the unexpected, of fantasy and realism.

The plot hinges upon Cinderella's love choices, but it is more of a literary story than a romance. Argyle's Cinderella is neither a strong, brave heroine nor a saccharine Mary Sue. She is a very rea…

Visualizing Characters, OR Another Way to Waste Time Online!

Writers love a good way to procrastinate online, don't we? Well, I have fallen into yet another e-hole. I got the idea from yesterday's Guess That Character Blogfest, in which most participants posted a picture, usually a photo of a celebrity, representing how one of their characters looks. I get inspiration for characters from famous people, too, but also from people I know. Most of the time, I picture my characters looking somewhat like a real person but with certain variations, or looking like a combination of real people. They are never carbon copies of any of my friends or faces on TV.

Also, (have I mentioned?) I'm pregnant, so I have been wondering how my genes are mixing with Mr. G's and what our baby will look like. Which led me to one of those sites where you can upload your pictures and see a morphed baby-face of you and your mate. The site I clicked on,, also lets you morph adult celebrity faces with each other or with photos you upload.


King Gustav Revealed

Gustav looks like...

...a werewolf! This post answers a blogfest prompt asking readers what they think a character looks like. Meika had the closest guess with "a bear of a man." He is not really a werewolf; he is the Beast of "Beauty and the Beast" fame. Comparisons to werewolves really singe his fur, because werewolves do not exist (duh) and even if they did, they could transform back and forth from man to wolf, whereas he is stuck in the middle and can't be either one.

The excerpt serving as the clue was:
Gustav hated the first thaw of spring. In the winter, he could pace his courtyard, which was inside the protective walls of his fortress but outside the walls of the steaming palace, filled with the smothering noises and sounds of imprisoned bodies, human passions and lusts and miseries, Gustav’s own envies and his guilt. Winter in the courtyard was cold and clean, a white stage upon which the subtle music and scents of nature played. In the courtyard Gust…

Viva Maria! fun film, fine French lesson

How did I never know about this movie?

August is French month in our "Six Languages in Six Months" program. This is hardly an intensive course that Mr. G and I are giving ourselves; we only take "lessons" every few days, and they consist of parroting a few phrases on, reading a page in a picture book of French words for children, or watching a French film. Last week we watched Amelie. This week, we hit the local video store that carries a large foreign film selection and grabbed two more movies that looked good.

Last night, we watched Viva Maria! This movie stars Brigitte Bardot (one of my official muses of beauty), George Hamilton speaking French, and Jeanne Moreau. The setting is a fictitious nation that looks a lot like Mexico, in the early 20th century (but was obviously filmed in the '60s). The fusion of 1910 and 1960s aesthetics, as well as the language and cultural mashup, is delightful and cheesy in the best way possible.

The premise sound…

Stories and Snacks: Consume wisely!

If you are gestating a baby or writing a book, it is imperative to consume wisely. We moms and writers need all the nutrition, education, and inspiration we can get.

Last weekend, I went on a trip to Chicago to reunite with my college roommates. It was vacation, so I enjoyed some junk food (hot dogs, fries, cake, candy) and some junk reading (the trashiest tabloids the corner store had to offer). Having a junky treat here or there, orally or mentally, is no big deal. In fact, it's probably good for you. Everything in moderation, including moderation! I'm not talking about things that could do immediate and lasting damage, like doing shots while pregnant or reading through (there are things you can't unsee...); I am referring, of course, to fun or frivolous indulgences that are only harmful in excess or when they replace necessary nourishment.

Like GOOD food and GOOD writing. In parenthood and authorship, nothing is guaranteed, and not everything is within your…

Jewels in the Jungle: hidden treasures for summer reading and listening

If mainstream entertainment isn't doing it for your muse this summer, check out these indie treasures. These are no "diamonds in the rough;" on the contrary, these books and CDs are artfully crafted, sparkling examples of high quality works that have not (yet?) hit the mass market. Mr. G and I recently watched a movie in which a feverish man throws a handful of cut, polished diamonds into a muddy pool in the jungle. These gems are like those--you might never know they were there, but if you just know where to look, they shine through the murk of obscurity.

Without further ado...

Here are two fellow bloggers' books that I've promoted before but are worth mentioning again. I would categorize these as "beach reads with bite." If the chick lit is putting you to sleep, you'll want to stay up all night with a flashlight with these sharp stories.

If you're looking for a fast-paced read with high drama, dark fantasy, and twisted romance, get yourself a…