“The Frog Prince – a tale told in rhyme” free on kindle for 5 days!

Free for 5 days on kindle – offer ends July 18th.

…Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away,
Within the castle grounds, a Princess came to play.
Neither child nor fully grown, a girl of charm and grace,
Upon the brink of womanhood and beautiful of face.

But don’t be fooled by this fair scene, no fairytale is this.
No story of a happy child, who dreams of endless bliss.
The kingdom had succumbed to grief, such darkness dwelt inside,
It spread and grew like twisted vines from which you could not hide…

The Frog Prince is a classic tale now enchantingly retold in narrative rhyme from the author of “Faerytale” (published through Safkhet Publishing). With the darkness of the original Brothers Grimm version, The Frog Prince tells the tale of a lonely Princess who makes a promise to a frog she cannot break. Forced to have him by her side within her father’s dreary castle she soon finds his company not quite as repulsive as she initially thought. But there is more to her slimy companion than meets the eye…

…Looking down the Princess cried and stared in disbelief,
For there he sat, her helpful frog, his eyes were wide with grief.
“Princess mind the pledge you made, all you said you’d do.
Let me eat from your bowl and share your food with you.”

The Princess knew not what to say, he must have come so far!
Beneath a nighttime sky so dark, despite its scattered stars.
“What is this?” the King he asked, for so confused was he,
The Princess told him of her pledge and begged to be set free.

“Of course I won’t you foolish child, your honor must dictate.
You gave your word, a pact was made. It’s really far too late!”
The Princess felt the urge to cry, there really was no choice,
“As you wish”, she replied in such a tiny voice…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prince-rhyme-Fairytales-Rhyme-ebook/dp/B0078K4GH8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342281962&sr=8-1

“The Frog Prince” is the first in the series. Also available through kindle: The Pied Piper – the 2nd in the series, with more to follow…

Happily Ever After…

“In every game they played, it’s true; it always went the same,

Her little sister got upset and on her laid the blame.

Ellie loved her fairy tales, believed them to be true

And vowed she always would believe, no matter how she grew.

 

Lucy teased the dreamy girl and called her silly names,

The childish tales her sister loved, she thought them rather lame!

So when they played their little games, based on stories told,

Lucy moaned and whined throughout, for she was far too old!”

The character Ellie in my book Faerytale was based on myself when I was little, Lucy being my older sister Charlotte. She didn’t tease me quite as much as Lucy teases Ellie but I remember thinking how sad it was that, as a teenager, she no longer saw the world in the same way as I did. Fairy tales which came to life before my eyes, mystical beasts and supernatural creatures which roamed Exmoor, viewable from my bedroom window. And that sense of adventure when I played in the garden, no longer a small patch of grass but an endless desert with hidden treasure maps to be found. But I always knew there would come a day when that would change as I grew older like my sister, and to a certain extent it did. But although I no longer believed these stories with their creatures and adventures were real, I still saw them in my head, bringing life to every day experiences. As a teenager I would go to places like Dunster castle with my incredibly like-minded best friend Emily, and imagine that we lived there in a world where magic and adventure were commonplace. And when she got married there many years later I realized that fairy tales can make guest appearances in real life no matter how “real” life becomes.

And then 4 weeks ago I myself got married in Devon to my partner Carl and, for me, after so many years of losing myself in tales of fantasy and fairy tales, that day was the closest I have ever come to a real life fairy tale…and it didn’t end with the closing of a book. After the ceremony we went outside for the reception in front of the most beautiful manor house, with Exmoor providing a breathtaking backdrop. Our closest family and friends all there to share the day with us and a rock disco to come in the evening!

Standing there in the dress of my dreams created by Emily (and I promised myself I would never say anything this cheesy!) I actually did feel like a princess. With both Charlotte and Emily at my side I had married my “prince” (again, profuse apologies for the cheese), only I had something over the likes of Cinderella, Snow White, Belle etc. I got to see what life brings to me and my husband after the wedding. Because “happily ever after” has always been just a little too broad an ending for me…. 🙂

 

 

“We read to know we are not alone.” – why reading should always be a child’s passion…

Once upon a time, as all good stories start,

There was a little girl who longed with all her heart.

To fill her world with magic, and live through stories told.

To wear those ruby slippers, to never dare grow old.

 

Her Neverland she found it books, oh how she longed to go!

But wardrobes failed to lead her to that magic land of snow.

Every thrilling tale she read, the lands they took her to

The looking glass within her mind would let her journey through.

That was the opening to my first published book Faerytale. The little girl in my book is me as I was then and as I am now. The title of this post is a quote from C.S Lewis which I have always loved for its simplicity. Reading has and always will be a passion of mine and the importance of reading for any child should never be underestimated.

When I was little my parents read to me every night, my dad read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to me many times over. When I was very small I had no idea what was going on apart from the fact that the story was about a little guy with hairy feet who became invisible when he put on a golden ring, but I loved his crazy voice when reading as Gollum. To this day Lord of the Rings is one of my favourite books.

Every book I have read has been of a continual source of inspiration to me, be it fairy tales, mysteries, horrors – they all filled my head with ideas and stories and gave me the passion to put them down on paper. The importance of reading and tales of imagination in my life is beyond sufficient explanation for me. It grabs you when you’re a child, before you can even read yourself, instead relying on your parents voices to guide your imagination. Then as you grow older you get to choose what type of tale to immerse yourself in. There are so many genres out there to appeal to each and every child, be it fantasy and fairy tales, action, mysteries, humour, poetry, science fiction the choices are endless and so are the benefits.

In a world of quick fixes such as video games and films reading has never been more important. Books do what computer games and films can never hope to achieve, they allow children to use and develop their own imaginations. These worlds are not given to them directly from a computer or TV screen. They dream and create these worlds within their heads as they read and even after they have finished the story. It can also give them a good start on the road to viewing reading not only as a necessity in everyday life but as a lifelong source of pleasure, be it for recreation or even professionally through writing.

Stories can free up imaginations and open up exciting new worlds of fantasy or reality. You carry these stories and characters with you into your adult years, even when you are told to put away childish things. But they are stories you go back to again and again and then through your children and your children’s children. They never lose their magic or their charm.  I have never grown tired of reading of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Dorothy on her journey to find the Wizard of Oz, and of course the never ending list of fairy tales which never seem to lose their charm or their meaning. I remember well the lessons of Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White in the world of the Brother’s Grimm where fairy tales don’t necessarily end happily forever after.

So reading and the world that books can create in your mind, and in your children’s minds, should never be underestimated. They help shape you into the person you will become and keep you in touch with the child that you were. Everybody has room for a little adventure and magic in their life, which can be lived through the books you read, no matter what age you are or what you like to read.

Just remember, even the children in Peter Pan had to grow up someday, but Wendy, John and Michael never forgot Neverland.

Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?…Anyone?

I saw this in the newspaper a few weeks ago and found it very sad.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17024101

I think it’s such a shame these days that children are not getting to enjoy these wonderful fairy tales as they were originally written: as tales laced with danger and a sinister, dark atmosphere. In the world of the Brothers Grimm danger lurked around every corner. Children were not safe and rarely protected from evil by their parents, in fact in most cases their parents/step parents were the source of the evil. The bad guys had no shred of humanity and no back story to explain how they had become the way they were. Not all the characters were innately good, even the hero’s and heroines, and the bad guys could not always be “saved” in the end, be it through repentance or an act of self-sacrificing goodness. What’s more the main antagonists, more often that not, met with very grisly ends! The witch in Hansel and Gretel burned to death in her own oven, Cinderella’s evil stepsisters had their eyes plucked out by birds, Red Riding Hood’s wolf was brutally hacked to death by the woodsman and Snow Whites stepmother was forced to wear iron shoes and dance till she dropped dead!

Naturally it is quite right that some parents may consider these details too graphic for young children and may feel the need to tone them down, as they already have been over the years. But choosing not to tell them at all is just a bit too drastic in my opinion. These tales have been around for hundreds of years. Even the Brothers Grimm were not the original writers. They gathered their stories from various story-tellers, peasants, servants and even aristocrats who in turn had had these tales passed on to them. They really are timeless tales and they certainly didn’t do me any harm! The darkness and the danger made them more thrilling to hear and to read. These tales also convey important moral messages to children: the dangers of talking to strangers and straying from the path (Little Red Riding Hood), the destructive nature of vanity (Snow White), the repercussions of boasting and bragging (Rumpelstiltskin) and the consequences of failing to pay what is owed/ breaking a promise (The Pied Piper). 

I think one of the worst retellings I have heard so far is for Little Red Riding Hood, whereby instead of eating Grandma to snare his prey, the “Big Bad Wolf” has tea with her and Little Red Riding Hood and then goes on his merry way! Fairy tales should never be dull like that. Whilst they should always be enchanting, magical and even romantic, they should also be exciting, unpredictable, dangerous, scary, sinister and disturbing. It seems like a lot to ask from a short story doesn’t it? But trying giving Snow White, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty another read (the original versions of course) and you’ll find all the above in those stories, which is really quite amazing isn’t it…?