“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…

Advertisements

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…. 🙂

 

 

Fairy Tales on Film: Original Fairy Tales Part 1

So I have looked at adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood and later on I will be looking at fairy tales such as Snow White and Hansel and Gretel and how they have been translated on film. For this post, however, I would like to look at original fairy tales on film, so films which have created their very own unique fairy tale. There were too many to choose from so I have split this post into two parts. The first part will be two films from the 80s and the second part will cover two more recent original fairy tale films.

Now you may think that any fantasy film can fall under the umbrella of a ‘fairy tale’ but the choices I have made I have always considered as fairy tales due to their general storylines and the atmosphere they convey. The main connection between them is the suggestion of history behind the story and the foundations of myth, legend and folklore that push the narrative forward. Also their similarities to well known fairy tales in terms of the general themes and plot. Not to mention the many crazy, fantastical creatures, the enchanting but slightly unnerving atmosphere and that element of danger and impending darkness that runs through each of them. 

My first film from the 80s is The Dark Crystal (1982). I find it hard to find the words to express how fantastic this film truly is and how much I loved it growing up (and still do!). It’s such an incredibly dark story with a wealth of fantastical creatures. Some of them are cute and delightful like the Podlings or even beautiful and graceful like the Gelflings. The Mystics are enchanting with their aged fragility and gentleness. Then of course there’s the Skeksis, grotesque and vulture-like with their henchmen the Garthim: scary and soulless giant beetles.

The story is based on the legend of the Mystics and Skeksis who were once one race of beings but were split in two when the ‘Crystal of Truth’ was shattered: the best qualities going into the Mystics and the worst into the Skeksis. It is Gelfling Jen’s destiny to reunite them by completing the Crystal using the remaining shard. There is so much more to the story though, including the Skeksis’ sinister quest for youth by draining it from the enslaved Podling’s, the battle between them for who will be their new emperor, and Jen finding his soul mate Kira when he thought he was the last of his kind.

What truly makes this film magical is the (revolutionary at the time) seamless use of puppets for all of the characters. I strongly believe that this film is a perfect example of how CGI (no matter how much it has evolved) isn’t the be all and end all to achieve fantastical characters or situations. The puppeteer’s give their characters life and emotion through their movement. They are far more real than a CGI creation could ever be. The story itself is intricate and laced with the qualities that make dark fairy tales so captivating. A story which features an age old legend, a quest based on the main characters destiny, an evil which is scouring the land and a vivid, mystical landscape with unusual creatures and a life of its own. Partner that with the artistic genius of Brian Froud, who was the concept artist, the unique vision and style of director Jim Henson and finally a beautiful and at times dramatic soundtrack and you have a truly magical, enchanting and somewhat sinister fairy tale on film: The Dark Crystal

My second film, from the genius of Jim Henson and Brian Froud again, is Labyrinth (1986). Any film that can retain its “dark fairy tale” atmosphere whilst also accommodating David Bowie in tighter than tight leggings and ridiculously catchy pop songs is going to be classic! Significantly lighter than The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth still uses puppets for the majority of its characters, bar the stars Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie. This mixture really adds to the juxtaposition of real life and fantasy as Sarah (Connolly) enters Jareth’s (Bowie) world, which thrives within an intricate Labyrinth leading to his castle. Jareth has taken her little brother Toby in answer to a wish made by Sarah in a temper, and will turn him into a goblin unless she can solve the labyrinth in thirteen hours. The story is not as intricate or rooted in its own legend as with The Dark Crystal but it certainly retains the usual characteristics of a classic fairy tale.

Sarah, her head full of fairy tales, maintains in the beginning that she is a Cinderella-like character with a wicked stepmother who does not care for her. But in her case the wish granted to her does not end up so well as she is thrown into a world which really isn’t as wonderful as she had always dreamed it would be. Like Snow White and her seven dwarves, Sarah makes unusual friends during her quest. She is often confronted with bizarre obstacles and riddles within the Labyrinth much like Alice and her adventures in Wonderland (not strictly a fairy tale, I know!). There is even a nod to Hansel and Gretel, when Sarah tries to mark the stones with lipstick to ensure she doesn’t get lost in the labyrinth. Quite aside from fairy tales it even delves into Greek mythology, with Sarah as a modern day Persephone, being drawn into the underworld by Hades (in this case Jareth) who wants to keep her there forever. All of these themes within the plot, the cinematography and magical use of a labyrinth all contribute to another fantastic original fairy tale on film.

Both Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal were very significant influences with me when writing Faerytale and the world I wanted to create within it. Both films contain worlds which are not only mystical and fantastical, but have un unearthly presence which goes beyond the strange creatures which inhabit it. The Dark Crystal embodies a world divided in two: both light and dark, but which ultimately should co-exist together in harmony. Whereas Labyrinth depicts the classic “dreamer” who gets her wish but soon begins to realize that not all fairy tales are romantic and enchanting adventures of discovery: they can be twisted and perilous. Both fantastic examples of original fairy tales on film from the 80s with both of them capturing that quintessentially dark and disturbing fairy tale ethos.