Cover Reveal: Entangled

Entangled--Broken Fairy Tales

A foster mother is torn between loyalty to the sea-girl she raised and the people she left so long ago. A runaway daughter receives help from her mother’s love reaching across the sea. A woman who lost everything to a curse of thorns is given another chance to love. 

Entangled: Broken Fairy Tales explores the relationships between mothers and daughters in three short stories.

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I’m thrilled to share the cover of my newest broken fairy tales anthology, Entangled. The wonderful Robin Cornett (who designed the covers for Shattered and Wired) did an awesome job with this one. This time around, I wanted to move away from the monochromatic look of the other two covers while still retaining series elements (ie: the fonts). I’m so pleased with the result!

Entangled is almost ready to go live. I’ll be announcing its release here (of course) and also in my newsletter, which you should totally subscribe to, for three very good reasons:

  • Bonus Content (This newsletter’s bonus content is another broken fairy tale called The Bargain, in which the Rumpelstiltskin story ends differently from what you know).
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I also promise to never ever ever sell or give away your email address (I hate unsolicited email just as much as you do!) and my emails will be short, sweet, and infrequent. Just use the form below to sign up (check the newsletter box).

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5 favorite fairy tale retellings

It’s no secret that I love fairy tales and am endlessly fascinated by how they inspire other people’s creative work. I enjoy many retellings, but these are my top 5 (I also include movies in this list):

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty_Robin McKinley

Richly detailed, with a strong, scholarly protagonist, this upper MG/YA retelling of Beauty & the Beast is on my keeper shelf (and I’m waiting patiently for my daughter to grow into it).

Disney’s Tangled

Tangled

I was unimpressed after seeing the trailer, but I ended up LOVING the movie. I adore Rapunzel’s sunniness, determination, vulnerability, and innocence. Mother Gothel is a great (evil-great, that is) villain, and Flynn a very different kind of “prince”.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted_Gail Carson Levine

A clever and fun take on the Cinderella story.

Ever After

Ever After

In spite of a few cheesy moments, this Cinderella retelling gets a thumbs-up for grounding the story in a historical context.

“Stronger Than Time” by Patricia C. Wrede

Book of Enchantments_Patricia C. Wrede

 This beautiful, melancholy retelling of Sleeping Beauty never ceases to make my heart ache. You can read this short story in the anthology, Book of Enchantments.

 What are your favorite fairy tale retellings?

Also, check out my favorite fairy tale picture books here.

Tia Nevitt on writing novellas

Tia Nevitt is the author of Accidental Enchantments, a series of novella-length fairy tale retellings. Her latest release, the Snow White-inspired The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf, features an unusual protagonist in one of the seven dwarves–a young woman looking for her own happy ending. Today, Tia is here to share her biggest novella-writing tip.

Welcome, Tia!

Novellas are hot in eBooks right now. Now that bookbinding is no longer an issue, it is no longer cost-prohibitive to produce novellas outside of a serial publication. ePublishers love them.

A novella is considered a story that is between 15,000 and 50,000 words. Here’s a rough guideline on manuscript length classifications:

  • Up to 1000 words – Flash Fiction
  • 1000 to 8000 words – Short Story
  • 8000 to 15000 words – Novelette
  • 15000-50000 words – Novella
  • 50000 to 100000 words – Novel
  • 100000 and higher – Epic

Shorter works are often harder to write than longer works. Plenty of authors love writing novels but wince at the thought of writing short stories. They might say something like, “I meant to write a short story but it kept wanting to turn into a novel.”

Here is my number one tip on writing novella-length works.

Limit the Number of Characters

When I was writing The Sevenfold Spell, I learned that each new secondary character brought with it at least a thousand words. At the time, I was expanding it from short story to novella, so I cut a bunch of really minor characters and added two major secondary characters–Talia’s best friend (Widow Harla) and the third man in her life (Prince Andrew). Each came with a story and a purpose. The Sevenfold Spell is a tight little story, and so it ended up with a very small cast of characters.

With The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf, I faced a new problem. I wanted to write a novella from the start, but I knew right away I would have to have seven dwarfs. Hmm. Seven dwarfs plus the prince, the princess and the evil queen. And I had better not make any of those dwarfs stereotypical. No one like Sneezy or Grumpy in any way.

So I ended up with ten characters, but an eleventh one wrestled his way in—the minstrel.

My characters ended up fitting the following classifications:

Protagonists – Gretchen and Prince Richard. I knew I would have parallel love stories, so I made one person from each love story the principal POV. Otherwise, I felt the story would be overwhelmed in POV changes.

Love interests – Lars and Princess Angelika – They have fewer POV scenes, but each plays a principal part.

Principal Secondary – Marta,  Johann and Rudolph – Marta is Gretchen’s mentor and matron of the dwarf farm. Johann is the minstrel and has key interactions with both Gretchen and Richard. Rudolph is a minor villain, a bully who inadvertently helps bring Gretchen and Lars together.

Minor Secondary – Gunther, Klaus, and Dieter – Gunther is the supervisor of the farm; Klaus is the youngest of the dwarfs and is often bullied by Rudolph, and Dieter is the confrontation-adverse owner of the dwarf farm.

How much of the story did each take up? Here’s a pie chart.

The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf

Character Prevelance Chart

Tia's Pie Chart

Of course, there’s a lot of overlap. All of the green and purple slices include at least one protagonist or love interest.

Since this was just a guess, I tested it. So considering that the story is about 44,000 words, I generated approximate totals for each group. It looks about right, with the possible exception of the Minor Secondary characters having a smaller portion of the pie.

Another tip I might have is to limit the number of plot twists, but I think if you concentrate on limiting the number characters, that will help more than anything else. This will give you the room that you need to develop the characters and grow it into a fulfilling story without making your readers feel short-changed.

Not even a stint in the military as an aircraft mechanic could erase Tia Nevitt’s love of fairy tales. To this day, she loves to read (and write) books that take her to another place, or another time, or both. She also dabbles in calligraphy, violin, piano and songwriting. Tia has worked on an assembly line, as a computer programmer, a technical writer and a business analyst. She lives in the southeast with her husband and daughter.

Tia’s novella, The Sevenfold Spell, won the 2012 EPIC ebook award for Fantasy.

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 Check out The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf at the following retailers:

Carina PressAmazonBarnes and NobleGoogle PlayOmni Lit

Audiobook Version

Magic_Mirror_Tia_Nevitt

Prince Richard is cursed. He is enslaved to the magic mirror, and must truthfully answer the evil Queen when she uses the mirror to call on  him. To keep from betraying innocents, Richard wanders the countryside and avoids people.

Gretchen has been teased all her life for being small. When she hears a tale of a hidden farm full of little people like her, she sets out to find it – and is welcomed by the mostly male inhabitants. One in particular, Lars, woos her with his gentle kindness and quiet strength.

But danger looms when Gretchen meets a runaway Princess and offers her shelter at the Little Farm. Wandering nearby, Richard instantly falls in love with the young beauty, and is compelled to tell the queen that she is NOT the fairest of  them all. Enraged, the queen vows to find the Farm and destroy it.

If either Gretchen or Richard are to have any hope of a happy ending, they must team up to break the mirror’s spell before the Queen kills them all…

Wired, out now

A cybernetic Rapunzel in a post-apocalyptic world has plans of her own

Now available at Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

A few things about Wired:

  • It’s a short story, about 4600 words long
  • You can read it for free on this site. Just go to the Works page and look under the Onsite Fiction heading
  • It’s free on Smashwords, but 99 cents on Amazon and B&N. That’s because those sites don’t allow me to set the price at zero. They may price-match, but I have no control over that.

And, last but not least, I hope you enjoy it!

dear pinterest, let’s just be friends

Several weeks ago,  I posted about my passionate fling with Pinterest and my subsequent reconsideration of my relationship (addiction?) in the cold light of day. The last time you tuned in (to the soap opera), I had deleted all my boards save one and put some distance between myself and its oh-so-pretty site (“Stay away from him! He’s not good for you!”).

Why, yes, I can flog that relationship metaphor past death.

However, Pinterest does have some good things going for it. I love that it’s visually, not verbally, oriented. I adore, and am inspired by, pictures, but I work with words. Wordsmithing is wonderful and joyous, but it is also hard and frustrating. Pinning, though, is pure play, a relaxing hobby, like scrapbooking without the mess.

In the past weeks, I’ve developed a healthier relationship with Pinterest. I’ve set boundaries, in terms of time and content, on my pinning. I am cautious about what I pin and where it comes from. Here are some of my guidelines:

1. I pin images that have a “Share via Pinterest” button next to them. DeviantArt and Etsy are two big sites that have enabled pinning. Many retailers and photo sites also have Pin It buttons.

2. I pin pictures that are in the public domain or available under the creative commons license. NASA’s space photos and illustrations on Project Gutenberg are two examples.

 

A haunting illustration by Kay Nielsen for the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. From Project Gutenberg.

 

3. If I find I an image I really want to pin and I don’t see a yay-or-nay Pinterest policy on the site, I email the copyright holder for permission. Author and illustrator Susan Paradis graciously gave me permission to pin some of the gorgeous interior illustrations from her picture book, Snow Princess.

4. I don’t repin unless I can follow the internet trail back to the original copyright holder to check if it’s okay. I automatically mistrust images from Tumblr or those that have been uploaded by user (unless the user is clearly the copyright holder).

5. I feel safe pinning book covers as they are advertising materials (and if it’s wrong to post book cover images, then a lot of us who review or otherwise blog about books are in big trouble!).

It’s not a perfect system and there are a lot of lovely pictures I’ve passed up, but these guidelines let me enjoy Pinterest with a clear conscience.

So, come check out my Pinterest boards and show me yours. If you pin, link to your account in the comments. I love to admire other people’s boards!

THAT book: the faber book of modern fairy tales

The particular edition of The Hobbit that your father read to you when you were a kid. That picture book retelling of Rapunzel with the illustrations you could sink into. The anthology whose pages you pored over for hours.

That book.

The book that is so much more than the words. It’s the story and the cover and the illustrations. It’s the heft and the shape, the feel of the paper, the smell of the pages. It’s the book that’s inextricably wrapped up in your memories–the sound of your father’s voice, the slant of the afternoon sun on the back of your neck, the day you first brought it home from the store or opened its pages.

For me, one of those books is The Faber Book of Modern Fairy Tales, edited by Sara and Stephen Corrin. My copy of it–obtained when I was about ten–is at my parents’ house in Karachi and very much out of my reach. So when I saw a used copy of it–with the same cover!–on sale on Amazon marketplace for a mere $5 and change, I jumped at the opportunity to reclaim a bit of my childhood.

These are no retellings of conventional fairy tales, nor are they riffs and twists of them. They are fairy tales, featuring questing young men and faithful woodcutter’s daughters, charmed lives and magical rings, visions and transformations. A squirrel turns into a woman, a young man claps thunder from his hands, a good little girl’s utterances are accompanied by a fall of jewels from her lips. Youths and maidens traverse a landscape of deep forests and vast oceans and on to the edges of the world. These fairy tales are modern in the sense they were written within the past hundred or so years ago, and thus suit today’s sensibilities better. Some are wry or comedic, others poignant and moving, all are enchanting.

It’s hard to pick favorites, but here are a few of the delightful tales hidden between the covers of this anthology:

“The Prince and the Goose Girl” by Elinor Mordaunt: A fearsome, tyrannical prince meets his match in an independent, fearless goose girl–and learns to love along the way.

“A Wind from Nowhere” by Nicholas Stuart Gray: When Tamsin meets a magical talking broomstick, she is thrust into a twilight world of witches and familiars and dark revels. This story made my heart ache.

“A Harp of Fishbones” by Joan Aiken: Nerryn has always been different from the other people in her village. After getting help from an unexpected source, Nerryn makes a harp of fishbones and sets off over the mountains.

“The Great Quillow” by James Thurber: When a giant comes to his town, it’s up to Quillow the toymaker to get rid of him.

… and many more.

Which book is that book for you? What have you done to reclaim a bit of your childhood?