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V – Victorian Romance Emma

  • Posted on April 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Emma is an amazing look into the world of victorian era romance and how class affected you. The main character, Emma, is a hard working woman, and in comes a nobleman who suddenly falls in love with her! William Jones is dead set on Emma, although his obligations get in the way at times. Including a kidnapping!

Why I recommend it for Writers: Kaoru Mori, the author of the series, and a number of other series too, is a phenomenal character writer. The characters are immensely human, and the feeling of whatever society Mori explores comes through aptly. Please, don’t limit yourself to just Emma either; check out Kaoru’s other manga, A Bride Story.

Warnings: Kidnappings, jealous rivals. Other typical romance-y things.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

My 20 Favorite Youtube Channels

  • Posted on January 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

Here’s a list of my favorite youtubers, organized by what they blog about:

 

Gaming Youtubers:

  1. Commander Holly – She does lovely let’s plays, and some of the best dating sim games played on youtube are of her and her friends. My favorite part is when she and her friends take turns voicing parts! Here are a few of my favorite let’s plays of hers:
    1. ABZU – underwater sleepy therapy time
    2. Hustle Cats – a Dating Sim where you date… CATS?!
    3. INSIDE – a surreal videogame where you play as a little boy
  2. Cryaotic –  A sonorous master, whose voice has lulled me to sleep on many a night. I adore all of his lets plays, but the horror games are the best!
    1. Rule of Rose – a horror game about an orphaned girl
    2. Bioshock Infinite – Another horror game, but one more widely known.
    3. Beyond Two Souls – A mediocre game turned amazing by Cry’s voice. About a psychic girl and the source of her powers.
  3. DanAndPhil Games – A combination of a taciturn and fun, these two have such cute lets plays I can’t help but adore them!
    1. Their Scary Games Playlist makes for a great night in!
    2. I never miss one of their Sims 4 Let’s plays. Dil Howlter is one of my favorite Sims!
  4. The Sim Supply – Does wonderful work with the Sims 4 and has a lovely voice to boot!
    1. His Rags to Riches challenges are great!!
    2. Especially anything labelled Bigwallet!
  5. JackSepticEye – An over-the-top cheerful blogger from Ireland (I’m a quarter Irish too!) who does let’s plays of the greatest stuff!
    1. His Last Guardian let’s play is so gleeful I adore it!
    2. But it was his Undertale let’s play that brought him to my attention! NYEH HEHEHE!
  6. Markiplier – His numbers speak for themselves, but beyond that he’s sweet, generous, and plays some of the best games I’ve ever seen!
    1. Among the Sleep is one of them, where you play as a frightened toddler!
    2. OctoDad is just hilarious no matter who’s playing it, but Markiplier just puts it over the top!
  7. NicoB – Generally plays JRPGs and other amazing games, so of course he’s one of my favorites!
    1. His Dangan Ronpa series is utterly amazing. He voices ALL THE CHARACTERS.
    2. He recently started a let’s play of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch!
  8. PressHeartToContinue – plays tons of different games and also has a little news show she does that is VERY informative. <3 her!
    1. Another HustleCat Let’s play, but this one with OCTOPIMP, who is a GOD among voice actors.
    2. She also does an amazing series with the dating sim Dandelion with CRY of all people. <3 Love these two together.
  9. Yandere Dev – Because I adore Yanderes as a trope, it’s only natural I would love the man who was actually putting together a simulation game where we can ACTUALLY PLAY a yandere girl.
  10. Kubz Scouts – Related to Yandere dev above, this guy is THAT DUDE, who plays yandere sim and a few other good games too. I love his bright and cheery voice.
    1. His Yandere adventures are just amazing!
    2. His let’s play of Fran Bow was also touching.
  11. Ana Mardoll – One of the sweetest let’s players I’ve ever seen.
    1. I love her “Long Live the Queen” series.
    2. And her let’s play of the Royal Trap was thorough and so sweet!

The Random Stuff

  1. Cinema Sins – A useful channel full of great videos that teach a lot about what NOT to do when writing screenplays!
  2. DigiBro – An amazing critiquer of anime and manga. This man knows EVERYTHING about what to do and what not to do when writing.
  3. How to ADHD – She is amazing, and really helped me get a handle on my ADHD brain.
  4. Life of Tom – A hella awesome youtuber for school hacks and tips.
  5. M. Kirin – A great writing show that stretches into some game play too. His accent is a bit difficult for me to parse sometimes, but other than that, he’s a great writer!
  6. National Novel Writing Month – Also a great writing show. Plenty of prompts and tips!
  7. Simply Nailogical – Taught me everything I need to know about how to do my nails. <3
  8. Something Witty Entertainment – The home of the greatest Abridged show in existance. It took Sword Art Online from somethng Awful to something Awfully Funny.
    1. SAO Abridged
  9. Trae Crowder – The Liberal Redneck! He’s great. Listen to him.

 

And that’s all! These are my 20 favorite youtube channels. Enjoy them with me, alright?

Write Now! 3 – Grimm Art of Fairy Tales

  • Posted on June 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Kate Bernheimer’s article on The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales  intrigues me in ways I can’t describe. Since I was a little girl, fairy tales have always been a big part of my life. I found comfort in the idea that, like Vassilissa the Fair, my mother would never leave me wanting, and like Snow White, my kindness and general likability would gain me safety. These small morals were the cornerstone to my personality. So of course, I’m obsessed with them now! However, after getting in touch with my love of horror and suspense, I find that the sweet, normal fairy tales of my childhood don’t quite… do it for me anymore.

And after reading Miss Bernheimer’s article, I figured out why. All of them lack something. They lack the original source. They lack the social commentary, the deep, terrifying moral of all fairy tales. Baba Yaga was a warning against disobeying your elders’ wisdom and, at the same time, a celebration of how that wisdom can, at times, be dangerous. Sleeping Beauty was a warning about how sometimes, not inviting the right people can ruin your entire life. The little mermaid did what Romeo and Juliet could not, and warned me away from stupid, single-minded love.

Intuitive logic, Flatness, and Happy endings, the article describes, are the three fundamentals of a fairy tale. to quote:

Intuitive Logic. The fairy tale world does not conform to the rules of this world, outside of a book, but it does have rules. They will not be explained with insistence. A teapot will sing. A path will appear just when children need to escape terrible danger. A girl will outsmart a witch. Your chopped off hands will turn into silver and save your life later. In my early fiction, my characters often argued with those around them that they were misunderstood; when I removed all efforts to justify logic (try removing transitions like “Therefore” and “Because”), my readers stopped arguing the stories were illogical.

Flatness. In many old fairy tales, characters are not very deep, psychologically speaking. Snow White, the target of murderous impulses by relatives (sisters or mother) does not suffer depression as a result. She does have responses however: fear, sadness, etc. They are logical and not lingered on deeply. There is nothing wrong with stories that explore ideas about psychological depth; I like many of these stories. Yet flat characters leave room for the reader. In the space left behind, one can think in new ways – Imagine new planes of existence. By flattening characters out, fairy tales exceed limitations of individuality, uniqueness, and self.

Happy Endings. Happy endings are underrated and misunderstood. In lots of old fairy tales, terrible things precede the beautiful images that begin and end most fairy tales; besides what’s wrong with a little consolation in a world teeming with senseless violence, poverty, grief? J.R.R Tolkien once defended happy endings as a vital technique in literature – reflecting, “Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” If I want to end a story about death with an image of a white horse running down a beach, as men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns wander drunkenly into the sea, leaving a pretty girl on the beach, counting pennies in the moonlight – if I can create poetic joy in the words – this is okay. […]

Fairy tales are storybook worlds. You can cast the spell.

The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales,  Kate Bernheimer

Her exercise then is to find a very short, very old fairytale, and break it down into these three instances. I chose Vassilissa the Fair, as it’s my favorite tale. It’s the story of a girl who’s mother, on her deathbed, gives her a doll and tells her if she runs into any trouble, to feed the doll and ask it’s advice. Since this is a fairy tale, Vassilissa of course runs into trouble.

Now, the intuitive logic here, is that the doll will in fact come alive. No one asks how. Or why. Just that the doll, when fed, comes alive and helps the one that fed it. And this help, invariably, always, helps her. When Baba Yaga tells her to clean her house, the doll has it done by the time Vassilissa wakes from a short nap. When Vassilissa runs from the witch, the doll tells her not to speak to the three riders on the white, red and black horses (morning, noon and night respectively.). And when Vassilissa at the first is sent out of her home to get a flower in the middle of winter, the doll is the one that tells her about the clearing in which she finds the 12 men (the months in order.).

Flatness is easy to find, since all we know about Vassilissa is that she is ‘fair’, meaning most likely blonde and pale.  We know she loved her mother very much. But we don’t hear Vassilissa’s thoughts. We don’t find out if she feels responsible for her mother’s death, or if she hates her stepmother and sister for sending her out into the forest each day. We never find out her feelings on Baba Yaga at all. And she’s wholly unaffected by the world around her. Vassilissa is little but a vessel for us to pour our own thoughts and feelings into.

The Happy Ending changes, based on who’s telling the story, of course, but my favorite is the one where the wicked sister goes out to get a blessing from Baba Yaga the way Vassilissa did, and never comes back, and the mother goes out to demand the men in the clearing give her flowers too, and never comes back. Vassilissa is left alone in her family home, to live her life. It’s not as surreal, perhaps as Miss Bernheimer would ask for, but it suited the story.

You can use this technique on any story really, and every story can benefit from these three instances of fairy tale progression. Remove attempts to describe the logic of your world. Let the readers just accept the premise of your story, and if they have questions? Well, that’s what Tumblr is for. Simplify or eliminate Character depth. It can always be added back in later. But for now, see how you can make room for the reader too. Don’t erase the tragedy, but afterwards, give the reader some odd bit of hope, like a pearl found lodged between an old man’s gums, which can then be used to buy passage onto a boat headed for a better life.

Ab Ovo – A review of a Literary Term

  • Posted on January 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that my writing mentor, Chris Votey, is someone who inspires and encourages me to go beyond what I already know in the world of literary writing. This month, he’s assigned me to read one of his articles on a literary term and respond to it. He chose for me Ab Ovo, a term I had never heard before, much less considered writing on. To be honest, most of the literary theory I know comes from Tumblr’s various teardowns and theory discussions on various manga, anime and shows.

I found this particular literary term to be quite rudimentary. In other words, it’s a word I should have already known, but didn’t KNOW it was tied to something. What Ab Ovo is, is simply this: A story that starts at the beginning. It’s a latin term that means ‘In Egg’, or at the beginning.

Now, you’re most likely considering the fact that all stories start at the beginning. But no, not all do. In the article, he explains stories like Star Wars: A New Hope and Shaun of the Dead are both In Media Res (or Starting in the Middle). So I had to go out of my way to find stories that start Ab Ovo. I started off by thinking of as many stories as I knew, anime, manga, books I’d read, various other things as well, and I found a lot of them are In Media Res. In fact, it got me to thinking about how all of these stories start.

It began to get a bit frustrating after a while, and when I finally found one that actually ISN’T In Media Res, I almost laughed. One of the few Ab Ovo stories I found was actually a story we all know and love. Thumbelina. The story starts with the BIRTH of our main character, the most important character, and goes from there. There is no previous conflict, other than the old woman wanting a child, and that’s solved with Thumbelina’s arrival.

Most fairy tales start this way too. Sleeping Beauty starts with the birth of the princess. Snow white, the original tales anyway, start with the Queen wishing for a baby, and spilling two drops of blood on her sewing. Pinocchio starts with Gepetto wishing for a child on the blue star, and getting a moving puppet instead.

The moral of the story here is, I suppose, if you want to give your story a fairy-tale like quality, have it start Ab Ovo.

Now, the original article that Chris wrote mentioned that it was also possible for the story to be Ab Ovo if it began with the Beginning Conflict. Not the conflict the character themselves face, as most of the time that would be In Media Res, but rather with a larger conflict, such as War or Famine, something that CAUSES the conflicts the character later faces.

For examples of that, I could only really find a technical example. In “A Journey To the West”, it is generally accepted that The Monkey King is the most important character (or at least, he’s the fan favorite), where as the MAIN character is in fact the Priest that he accompanies on the eponymous Journey. However, the story BEGINS with the Monkey King getting himself thrown in Monkey Jail for arguing with God. (There are numerous versions of this story, including but not limited to Saiyuki, two TV series’ in both 1986 and 1996, and my personal favorite: Patalliro Saiyuki. More examples can be found here. )

Now, if the Monkey King had minded his own damned business and stayed in his lane, he might have been able to stop the Ox King’s rampage, which is what caused the Priest to have to set out in the first place. So, by that definition, this story would start Ab Ovo.

This doesn’t seem to discredit the theory that you should perhaps only use Ab Ovo in your story if you wish it to be fairy-tale like in quality. In fact, it gives it more credence. Really, it’s very difficult to hold an audience’s attention with a story that begins before the main character is even born. That’s why it’s generally considered rude to have a prologue, and many writers tell you not to bother with it, and to just turn it into later exposition. However, if the story is compelling enough (or culturally known well enough), you can most likely get away with it.

Researching Mystery

  • Posted on August 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Today, I have a guest blog published over on Cindy Grigg’s website. We’ve swapped guestblogs, and her post, 9 ways to fix your Stereotyped Character is informative and fun to read! Go take a look at it! Also, take a look at the article, Researching mystery which you can find here:

If you’re curious, here’s the first two paragraphs of the article, for your perusal.

To begin with, I’m not normally a mystery author. To be specific, when I was younger, I only ever wrote fantasy novels, or romance. Now, however, I’m trying my hand at mystery novels, which means quite a bit of strife. I have a natural instinct when it comes to fantasy, so I find it easy to fall into. With Romance, I have my years as a fanfiction writer and fandom roleplayer to fall back on, which can both enhance and detract from my writing. (No one likes reading author’s notes, I’ve since learned.)

I came to mystery as a genre because I love the tense atmosphere. Maybe it’s less mystery and more suspense that I enjoy. But recently, I’ve found that I want a challenge. And the best way to challenge yourself is to write something you’ve never in a million years written before. But how can you write something you’ve never written before? How can you make sure that you don’t slip back into writing what you know? And worst of all, how do you manage to make it a GOOD manuscript when you know nothing about your genre?

Read More

Friendship Blooms

  • Posted on June 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Dirk had been polishing his boots when it happened. The courtyard had been open and wide, and the breeze was nice, so he’d decided to clean his armor and check it over for damage there, instead of in the armory. Perhaps a bit of a foolish thing to do, but how could he say no to the bright sunshine? Sitting outside helped clear his head, as well, so that he could review the lessons that Althalos had beaten into him today.  His ribs still stung from the great wallop he’d received when his attention had swayed towards gods only know what earlier during their bouts together.

The incident that is being referred to turned out to only be the start of something horrible and rather humiliating for all parties involved. However, the best learning experiences, in Dirk’s limited view, tended to be just that. A little horrible, and very humiliating.  The only good thing that came of it, was that he learned a little more about his princess, and a little more about himself as well.

So if the bottom of his stomach dropped out at the sight of Second Princess Eamon storming towards him, it could be blamed on the fact that it wasn’t very often he was confronted with such a fearsome sight. Just last week, he’d watched her take an entire band of fifty some odd men down with only seven knights and a good plan. She’d waded into the battle herself, sword swinging as fast and as hard as any man, and he respected her for it. He was also mildly terrified of her for her ruthlessness when it came to battle itself. Her smile was that of a demon when she engaged an enemy, and worse if she knew she’d win. He wasn’t looking forward to whatever was making her grimace like that at him. “Sir Strausson!” She called, and his bones snapped into ready position before he had time to think about it, a muscle memory instilled through many hard raps to the shins by Althalos and all of his other teachers.

“You are to accompany me into the city today! Dress respectably, and be prepared to engage in wooing!”

Now, that threw him off, simply because he had no idea what she meant. “…Forgive me, your royal highness, but I don’t understand.”

“You’re going to woo me, Sir Strausson.” She declared, and Dirk felt his stomach shrivel into dust. He’d just broken up with Lady Ameliah last week, and he honestly wasn’t interested in going through that particular cycle with Princess Eamon as well. “I expect nothing less than your very best romantic endeavors, and I will not allow you to back down.”

“I-” Realizing that he had no chance of getting out of this was roughly the same as pulling teeth. “Yes, ma’am.”

Finding his way back inside, in a daze, he began getting ready. Wearing the same white shirt, the blue vest that Lady Ameliah had said brought out the blue in his eyes and the dark coal of his skin, he sighed, realizing that this was going to be a thorough, unmitigated disaster. Although… Well, to tell the truth, Eamon was so terrifyingly in control all the time, that most of the knights and lords called her “Lady Ironheart”. None of them would approach her. And since Dirk had apparently scared away every person who had professed interest in him, he thought that perhaps this was what his circumstances lead to. As Lady Ameliah said when she had declared their relationship over, Dirk was just too uptight.

Perhaps he needed someone just as uptight as he was, that way he would be matched. Eamon was a brilliant person, and a lovely woman. If it weren’t for her overbearing need to be the best, perhaps she’d have more suitors. Pulling on his best boots, he laced them thoughtfully . Honestly, he thought that Lady Eamon was just fine as she was. But perhaps she was lonely?

Well, anyone would be lonely, after seeing their twin so happily engaged. Ever since the letter with her ring had come, First Princess Lette had been walking on air. Perhaps Princess Eamon was simply jealous of her sister? Oh, who was he to speculate anyway. He knew next to nothing of the ways of other’s hearts. He was clueless, himself, and if he felt an itch occasionally to have another next to him, the warmth of another person sharing his life, he usually found ways to ignore it. Usually by reading, or studying, or riding. Or sometimes, by speaking with Jorgan in the kitchens. The boy was surprisingly good at clearing Dirk’s head, and it was nice. Although that brought him to the thought of what he should do to please Lady Ironheart during their outing. Was she expecting him to take the lead in this? Most of the other ladies he’d been with had expected as such. Some, however, had always lead him around like he was some small dog on a leash. That had been about as annoying as the expectations, actually. He gave another sigh, heading out.

Stopping by the kitchen, he gave Jorgan a quick squeeze. The russet haired apprentice grumbled, and shoved him, but smiled a little more, which made Dirk’s day. Packing a basket full of food, just in case, he gave the sleeping cook a small glare, before heading out. Picking a good horse, he started saddling it up.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” The princess’s voice called from behind him, and he bit back a groan, and turned around. And had to stare for a few moments, because… She was wearing a DRESS. He’d been under the impression that Eamon HATED dresses. He’d never seen her in one. Not really. It… didn’t really look right on her. She looked out of place, and rather uncomfortable, although he had to admit, the curled ringlets of her hair made her face look quite more ladylike than usual. That was nice. He supposed.

“I’m preparing our outing? I thought perhaps a picnic at the top of the hill leading to the Temple?” He offered, knowing it to be the most beautiful and supposedly romantic place in the entire city. Several of the others whom had asked him to court them had demanded he take them there. He’d recently just started taking everyone there on the first outing. Easier that way.

“No! You’re going to take me to the theater. And then, we are going to the Tree of Bloom.” She declared, one finger in the air, as if ticking off boxes on a list. “After that, you will take me to my rooms, and we will have a kiss.” Her face turned a deep red and he felt his own cheeks heat in response. Kissing was never his favorite thing. Ever. Too wet, and too… well, close. Plus, the smell of another’s breath tended to make him just a little ill. But he couldn’t argue with a Princess.

“As you wish.” And that was how he found himself strolling along the venues of the city, the crowds of people pressing around them. Eamon strode through, her skirts just as sure as her armor for keeping people out of her way. Dirk felt like he was her bodyguard instead of her date, and it was legitimately humbling. The set of her shoulders was the same as when she was waging war, and Dirk respected her for it. So when she stopped in front of a building, and held out her arm in an odd angle, he was puzzled as to what exactly she wanted.

“Well? Go on! Take my arm, and let’s go inside!” Doing exactly that lead him into a room filled with hushed whispers and draping curtains, with people spread out all over, and chairs everywhere. The Princess strode forward and into the best seats in the house. Ignoring the protests of the people who had been moving towards them, she sat, fiddling with her skirts as if they were in the way. He sat down next to her, the chair rough and badly made. Clearly this was not a royal theater in any way. The candles around them flickered with everyone’s movement, and Dirk wondered if this is what it feels like to be smothered in bad taste.

“The show is called ‘Pan in Darkness’.” Eamon explained, and her voice this low made it hard to remember that she commanded armies with that voice. “It’s a love story about a fae child and the local prince’s bride to be. Lette says that it’s a must-see.”

“Ah. She recommended it then?” He asked, a little curious. Since he’d been assigned to guard one or the other of the princesses every once in a while, it was a little odd to see them together. Mostly due to their different obligations. Lette being a Priestess of Vell and Eamon a Knight of the Realm, they didn’t exactly coincide very often. He wondered if it was because they were sisters that they found time to spend together. He wondered, if he’d had any siblings, would he have worked so hard to spend time with them? He felt as if he was forgetting something… But the curtain rose, drawing his attention.

Eamon was right. The play was rather heartfelt. But Dirk really could have done without the awkward make-outs in the middle of the scene that was supposed to be romantic. He wasn’t happy really with it, but then again, who was he to say what was right in this sort of thing. He noticed Eamon looked just as bored as he was, really, rolling her eyes and huffing more sighs than a sleepy dog. Not that he would ever compare his Princess to a dog. That… wouldn’t end well.

On the way out, however, he caught her mumbling to herself, “About time.” He paused, and nodded, and agreed with her, which sent her cheeks red again. She stormed off towards the palace garden, and Dirk followed, a little confused as to what the point of all of this was. Was Princess Eamon really interested in having a relationship with him? He didn’t think so… At least she wasn’t asking him to hold her hand or anything. He didn’t mind holding hands, in fact, it was kind of nice. But he was wary. Holding hands usually meant they wanted him to kiss them, and he really, really just didn’t want to deal with that.

The gardens were verdant and green, and they smelled lovely like fresh rain. He wondered if that was because of rain-spells, or if it had rained while they were in the theater. He found that Lady Eamon slowed down quite a bit, when on the garden paths. She contemplated the flowers slowly as they moved, her skirts brushing the leaves. He had to admit, she was lovely, in a way different from her sister, or even from her mother. The faint silver lines of scars along her arms, the firm muscle of them in the silk sleeves. He knew he’d find callouses similar to his own on her fingers, were he to look.

If he were honest, he really admired her. She trained as hard as he ever had, and she had become someone irreplaceable to the people of Theon, and to Kuryle itself. But Dirk would prefer to have her as a friend, as a fellow knight, than to lose her, like he inevitably did whenever he courted someone. He should put a stop to this… Ah. Wait, she’d stopped.

The Tree of Bloom rose over their heads, limbs heavy with leaves that stayed green all year round. The wood pulsed with beautiful light, rainbowed and dizzying up the trunk. He couldn’t stop gazing at it. The Tree was very famous. Couples from all over the country pilgrimage to this place, to stand before the tree. Only four times has the blossoms ever opened, the blooms always tightly shut. It is said that when they do open, they shine a beautiful light, different each time. The most famous of times this happened is said to be whenever Priest-Queen Lishtaire and her Knight Templar Althalos visit the garden together. As such, it has become the norm to say that the tree identifies and shines in the presence of soul mates. Ones who were meant to be together forever are blessed by the tree.

It wasn’t as if it was the end all be all, of course. Just a romantic rumor. And as Eamon stood, staring up at the branches, he wondered if he was supposed to do or say something.

“It’s beautiful.” He offered, an olive branch of conversation.

“Yes.” She sighed, “More so when it blooms.” Ah, he’d forgotten. She would have seen that, wouldn’t she? After all, it was her mother and father the tree bloomed for. He smiled, and took a step forward, to her side.

“I don’t think… that this is a good idea.” He started, trying to make this less awkward. He didn’t get the chance to finish, however, because she reached up, and with hands as strong as his own, fisted his shirt, and yanked. Her lips met his, and it was a kiss. Just as wet and foul and thick as he was used to, a pressing of lips to lips, and that was it. It meant nothing, and he barely had time to get the disgust off his face before she pulled back.

“…” She sighed, and let him go, which was a relief to him. “…I thought perhaps that, since father likes you, and you’re a very kind man, we could make it work.” Her tongue licks her lips, “But that kiss was just…”

“Sort of horrible?” He prompted, his lips quirking into a bit of amusement. “That’s how my kisses usually go. If you’d asked any of my previous paramours, you’d know. Lady Ameliah grew angry enough to break out courting simply because I can’t kiss well.” Well, it was more complicated than that, but that was the basic point of it, he thought.

“…I think it has more to do with your being male.” She explained. “I had no problems kissing Lady Nonna last week. I…I think I enjoy the company of ladies more.”

He wondered if this was true, or if she was just saying it to try and make him feel better. Honestly, he didn’t really care. He was just relieved he wouldn’t have to deal with the cycle of abject disappointment again, only this time with someone he respected. He smiled, and set his hand on her shoulder.

“If that’s the case, then I would still like to offer my friendship. I see no reason why we can’t get along.” He offered. And when she smiled up at him, he could see her mother in her. It warmed his heart, and he found yet another person he would do just about anything for.

Ladies Locked in Towers

  • Posted on April 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

String theory envisions a multiverse in which our universe is one slice of bread in a big cosmic loaf. The other slices would be displaced from ours in some extra dimension of space. – Brian Greene

Multiverse theory has always been one of my favorites. A theory that states ultimately that not only are we not alone in our universe, we are in fact, not alone in our circumstances. For every choice we make, there are other universes in which we never made that choice.  In each of these universes, other things have happened, other people in our lives, other riches, enjoyments or sorrows. It’s nice to think that that sort of thing is happening out there, don’t you think? I do.

So why bring it up during my Fairytale themed week? Because it, in itself, explains part of the existance of fairytales. In each of the fairytales we know, something happens, the hero/ine makes a choice. Right? Let’s take Rapunzel for this one, since I named it Ladies in Towers and all.  You should feel lucky, this was originally a feminism rant, but turned into string/multi theory instead. Yay, right? But no, now I’ve decided to use it to explain why Fairytales exist in a scientific mumbojumbo. Ish. I am not a scientist. This is my disclaimer.

Now, let’s say Rapunzel’s mom chose not to have her husband steal the lettuce (seriously, who craves lettuce? No nutritional value whatsoever.) and instead raised her daughter on her own. Well, then that daughter would have been a peasant, and never would have married her Prince. Or had those twins. Or had her prince’s eyes gouged out. But that’s another story. LITERALLY. It is another story entirely, if you change just ONE. TINY. THING.  This trope is called For Want of A Nail and is often considered to be the start of a thousand fanfics.

Okay, so then say Mom DOES eat the lettuce, and Rapunzel ends up in the tower again. Well, she has so many choices from here! When she’s old enough, she could have just climbed down herself. But that doesn’t make for a good story! Or does it? I’d like to see a Rapunzel who was strong enough to leave her tower on her own. It makes sense, to have her stay up there, because up there, she is safe. Outside is only desserts and heartbreak and misery and Oh yeah, a life.

But think about this. Any fairytale could have gone differently, if only given one, tiny, change. You could gain an infinite amount of plots, if you put this theory to work! Beauty and the Beast where Beauty chooses not to find her father. She marries Gaston and ends up having children, and only later, does she realise she missed out on life. Such a tragic tale!

My theory is that Fairytales make for wonderful fodder for change, only because they ARE. SO. CHANGEABLE. How many versions of each fairytale do you know? But so long as they are the SAME consistent theme, they are STILL the same fairytale! It’s amazing! Hence, String/Multiverse theory in practice. We humans are such creative creatures, aren’t we?

Is He or Isn’t He (Human)?

  • Posted on April 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Today we discuss that ever famous trope, the one thing that makes every horror movie ever awesome, the one thing that turns fairytales from fairy to Faery tales, and the one thing that I absolutely adore when done right. When in doubt, use this particular cliche, because honestly, it never gets old! On Tvtropes.org they call it the Tomato in the Mirror. Personally, I like the fact that it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Including yourself!

Is he human, or isn’t he? This goes for women too, but too often, we forget that men exist in fairy tales as anything other than the prince, or the rescuer. Or sometimes both. As one-dimensional as this is, some of the best  scares in the world, come from the idea that the person you are with is not who he says he is. So here’s a quick guide to whether or not your beau is in fact, human!

1) Salt! It is your best friend!

In most societies, Salt is considered a purifying presence. (maybe because of what it does to slugs, who knows.) People consider it pure and useful. In the old days, there was a saying “Worth his salt”. This was because back in those days, people were actually PAID in… You guessed it. Salt. It preserves meat, adds flavor, keeps rot away, and best of all, salt lining a doorstep or a window keeps the evil from entering a home. Supposedly.

The Pearl Princess
A Fairy Tale of the Value of Salt
Once upon a time, there lived a woman on the top of a mountain that lived in a cottage and had geese. In the
large nearby forest, she would pick grass for the geese and fruit to carry home. One morning, a handsome
young count came into her presence. He asked if she had no one to help her carry her things. She told him
that she was poor and had no one to help her and asked if he would be so kind since he was strong and tall.
He agreed but soon he was groaning under the weight. “These are so heavy, can we rest,” he asked? “No.
Go on a bit more,” she coaxed. ” He tried and tried to take the bundle from his back and found he could not.
He began to think she was a witch. As if she could read his thoughts, she tried to console him by saying:
“Don’t get angry. I will give you a present when we get to my home.”
Soon they arrived at her little cottage. It was a bit run down though neat and tidy. There was another women
there who asked: “Kind mother, you have stayed away for so long. You were missed.” “I met with this kind
gentleman, who carried my burden,” replied the old woman as she took the bundles from the Count. “Sir, you
may rest upon the bench. And you, little one, go inside the house lest he fall in love with you.” The Count
was somewhat surprised at the old woman’s comment. The girl was homely and old looking and he thought
love was an impossibility unless she was considerably younger.
The Count fell asleep. When he awakened the old woman was there ready to give him his reward for his
kindness of carrying her bundles. She placed an emerald green box in his hand and admonished him to take
good care of it. He put the unopened box into his pocket and left. He was unable to find his way out of the
forest even though he had been able to before. Finally, after three days, he came to a large town. He was
greeted by a guard that was instructed to take all strangers to the King and Queen.
He respectfully explained his situation: “Your Majesties, I am a Count. I have lost my way.” The King asked,
“How can you prove what you say?” The Count began to search his pockets and found the emerald box and
presented it to the Queen. Upon opening it she gasped in surprise and fainted. The guards seized the Count
and the King helped the Queen. As the Count was being taken away she awoke and asked that he be
released for she wished to talk to him…. alone.
Once alone the Queen began her sad tale. “I have three daughters. The youngest was rare and wonderful.
When she cried, pearls fell from her eyes instead of tears. One day, their Father, the King, decided to divide
his kingdom so he called our daughters before us. ” He said: “All of you love me. But she who loves me best
will receive the greatest part of the kingdom.” The Queen continued. “Each child giggled and said that she
loved her father best but was asked to tell how much. “The first daughter said that she loved her father as
much as the sweetest sugar. The second daughter said that she loved him as much as her prettiest dress.
Our youngest was quiet. The King asked her….”How much do you love me.” She replied, “I know not what to
compare my love to, Father.” He encouraged her and asked her to think again. “I do not like even the best
food without salt. Therefore, I love my father like salt.” He became angry not understanding the compliment
she had given him for salt is worth more than gold sometimes. “Like common salt,” he raged! He had the
kingdom divided between the two oldest daughters and placed a sack of salt upon her back and she was
lead into the forest by two guards. I begged him not to but he wouldn’t change his mind. I wept. She also
wept and the road to the forest was strewn with the pearls from her eyes. After a few days, the King regretted
his behavior and the soldiers were sent into the woods to find her. They could not. We have wept since.” And
so ended the Queen’s sad tale.”When I opened the emerald box, I saw the pearl that my daughter used to cry. Where did you get it” the Queen implored?

“In the forest, I met an old woman and carried some bundles to her home. I didn’t see a
beautiful princess.” When the King was told of this, the three of them returned to the forest to look for the old
woman.
She was in her cottage spinning with the homely child beside her. An owl came to the window and the old
woman said, “It’s time to go to the well.” Off she went deeper and deeper in to the forest. She brought up a
bucket of well water and began to wash her face. As she did so, the homely mask soon came off and in the
moonlight you could see she was the beautiful princess.
Meanwhile, the Count had strayed from the King and Queen and climbed a tree to find them. But what he did
see was the girl, a beautiful girl. He edged out further on the branch to secure a better look but the tree limb
creaked. The girl heard the noise and placed on her mask as she ran from the well. He recognized her as the
goose girl from the old woman’s cottage. He climbed down the tree as quickly as possible but the fair maiden
had disappeared.
He found the King and Queen and said, “I think I have just seen your daughter. She probably went down this
path.” The three went hurriedly down the path and came upon the old woman’s house. They peered in the
window and saw the old woman alone at her spinning wheel. They knocked softly and heard her response:
“Enter. I was expecting you.” They asked the old woman if she knew of her daughter, the Princess. The old
woman rose from her stool and pointed a finger to the King and said, “Three years ago, you unjustly drove
her away. She who was good, kind and pure as salt! She put out her hand, which was filled with salt and
asked, “do you know the value of salt and therefore the love your child has for you?”
The King expressed his sorrow and beseeched the old woman to show him his daughter. A door opened and
the Princess appeared. Everyone wept tears of joy but only the princess wept pearls. The King asked her
forgiveness and said that he had no kingdom left to divide and that he had nothing of worth to give to her.
The old woman said: “This child needs nothing. She is as the salt of the earth, pure, life giving and watched
over. Her pearls are finer than those of the sea and she shall always have them.”
Upon this comment, the old woman put up her hands and said that for the years the Princess spent tending
her geese, the cottage was hers to keep. The kindly woman disappeared and the cottage changed into a
beautiful palace.
In all of the commotion, the Count was overlooked and he began to go. The Queen stopped him and asked if
there was any way that they could repay him for finding their daughter. The King offered his gold, the Queen
offered the pearls. He looked at the Princess and asked if she would marry him. The Princess agreed…..
And they all lived happily ever after.

The Salt Institute

2) Sage. See Salt, because it’s the same situation. Purification properties, protection from those who might harm you. Wear it as perfume, and if he flinches away, he is evil! Or maybe just in possession of a nose, because honestly, Sage has a really pungent odor. But it can be used to purify a home of spirits. Especially useful when one wants to avoid the situation poor Violet’s situation on American Horror Story. Just light a bundle of sage and let it’s fragrance touch every corner of your house, and put a small + symbol over each door and window with the ashes, and you’ve got yourself a safe home.

3) Tiger’s Eye. This stone has often been touted as protective. Just Google It and you’ll find a plethora of options. You see, it resonates with your own protective barriers, if you’re the type of person to believe that all people have these psychic protections, and strengthens them. Wear a tigers eye on the subway, or when dealing with people you don’t particularly care for. Wear it at work to avoid being noticed by the boss when s/he is on a rampage! Hey, there ya go!

So go forward, forewarned and forearmed, and meet your beau with a tiger’s eye around your throat, and some salt in your fist! Make sure that lover isn’t there just for your lovely insides!

Hansel and Gretel

  • Posted on April 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Hansel and Gretel was always an interesting story to me. Two siblings, thrown away by their family, into the woods, into the great unknown. And then, these two, usually through the intelligence of the sister, manage to make their way. Honestly, it reminds me of children in the foster system. I think, maybe, a retelling of the story with two children taken from their parents, and put into a foster home.

Perhaps that foster home is populated by a ‘nice’ woman, and her many cats. And then, it turns out she eats the children alive, mentally and emotionally, by forcing them to work to bring her money. Day in day out, the siblings would work, until finally, Gretel would realise that they needed to start making money on their own. I could see her figuring out ways to use the old Witch’s money against her, and eventually, with a little help from Hansel,  she manages to open up a bakery! That seems like a fun idea.

Toss in some faery-mechanics, such as promise-requirements and witches spells, and you’ve got a pretty cool little urban fantasy alternate universe for that. I’ve always been interested in Urban Fantasy. Retellings of old stories, or old creatures housed in a modern lifetime, it seems, captures everyone’s attention. Something about fairytales being accessible to them, makes people curious, interested. The idea that such magical things could happen to you is entrancing in the least.

I still, and always will, wish for something amazing to happen to me. And the idea that a fairytale will suddenly entrench me in it’s twists and turns, is utterly unbearably tempting. I want it. Its one of those things that makes escape manageable, that makes the mundane worth sifting through, if only to attempt to understand the magical. But what is it that makes us question reality so that gates in the middle of nowhere beg to be gone through? What is it that draws the human eye to dark places, and wonder if they contain eyes following us? What is it about human psyche that demands the magical?

I think that is what Writers and Artists tap into when they create. Some collective unconcious that craves the strange, the odd, the weird, craves difference from boredom, loss of safety over the continuance of mundanity. I explore it with abandon, when I write. I try my hardest not to be held down by what is real, but to also make it just real enough to tickle at that sense of normalcy, that hope that everything will turn out alright. But what is alright? What does one care for so much about the laws of physics and the continued processes of breathing?

Cinderella

  • Posted on April 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

The dress Aunt Eugenia held out to her was sparkling and blue and made of layers upon layers of such light material that it looked like glass or moonlight. It felt like silk under Ella’s fingers, and the tiny pearls sewn along the off-shoulder-neckline drew a soft breath of awe from her. She swallowed, and when she turned her eyes up to her godmother’s face, all she saw was pride and joy.

“It was your mothers. She wore it to her prom, you see, when she was only a few years younger than you are now.” Aunt Eugenia explained, smoothing the dress over Ella’s chest, as if to press it onto her. “Now, get dressed, and we’ll do something about your hair and makeup, too. After all, we’ve got a prince to catch, don’t we?” She winked, not surprised by Ella’s blush.

It was like a dream, Aunt Eugenia swooping in like this, and taking Ella away from her dreary nine to five call center job. She’d known that her godmother was rich, that she didn’t spend much time in the US, but this was different. Something… Something strange was happening, but Ella really couldn’t understand it. The dress flowed like water down her frame, her latin-brown skin complimented and turned to caramel next to the blue of it. Looking in her Aunt’s full length mirror showed her a curvy woman in a gown far too sumptuous for her.

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