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10 Questions: “Tales Untold”

I found this fun stuff on tumblr and thought I’d share a bit more about my characters. I’m going to focus on “Tales Untold” for this one because it’s my most recent completion and hopefully will be released in January, 2018. 

Quick synopsis: “Tales Untold” is the retelling of a few different fairy tales (overlapped), from the point of view of side characters. Asher Croft: the magic mirror Pumpkin: Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Therian: the huntsman (the one who saved Red Riding Hood and Snow White) and Nymphaea: the Fairy Godmother who cursed Sleeping Beauty and several other famous royals. Let’s get to know them!
1. What is your main character’s greatest fear?

Since there’s four main characters, here we go:

Asher: he’s claustrophobic since his traumatic experience being trapped inside Queen Hesperia’s mirror, but his greatest and least noticeable fear is losing his mother.

Nymphaea: she’s pretty badass so it doesn’t seem like she fears much, but she is afraid of being powerless.

Therian: another one with a traumatic experience, ever since Therian figured out what his curse is (no spoilers here!), he’s slightly afraid of the dark.

Pumpkin: she’s a little more difficult, being the strongest character in the bunch. When considering what she goes through in the book, I’d say her greatest fear is being feared.

2. What is your greatest fear as a writer?


Being offered a big publication from a big name publisher, only to find out they’re going to make me change everything I worked for years on, which is why I only self publish.

3. What is your main characters greatest flaw?


Nymphaea: has an overdeveloped sense of vengeance and a sick idea of punishment.

Asher: may be a little too brave for his own good. He has some scars to prove it.

Therian: is stubborn.

Pumpkin: may have a control issue 

4. How does reading affect your writing? Do you find you read differently because you’re a writer?


I was always told that reading makes you a better writer. Harry Potter is the reason for my love of reading. So now I’m an avid reader. I guess I do find that it makes me a better writer.

5. What’s the best criticism or writing advice you’ve gotten?

I find I get a lot of great advice, especially from other writers, I can’t choose a favorite.

6. What’s the worst criticism or writing advice you’ve gotten?


Again, I get more constructive criticism than negative stuff, but the one “worst” criticism that stands out was changing the names of not one, but a handful of characters. I was given advice once that had nothing to do with writing and that was: always go with your gut feeling. And it is so true. This names felt right in my gut, my soul. I kept them and I don’t regret it.

7. Do you tend to have more fun writing the heroes or the villains? Why?
 

I have an equal  love for both , but villains are more fun. They allow me to release some rage and vengeance without real life consequence. I find writing villains very therapeutic.

8. Do you save images that inspire you for your story? 

Yes of course!

9. Have you ever gotten a story idea from a dream you had?

Possibly, but I mostly get my story ideas from real life personal experiences.

10. Be honest: Do you have a certain character you particularly love to hurt? Your punching bag? Their suffering is just The Best whether they deserve it or not?


For “Tales Untold” I’d have to say it’s Asher. It may because he reminds me of a past version of myself, not entirely  only parts of him, and I hated that time in my life so it felt good to metaphorically  beat that past self out of him and ultimately myself. Sorry Asher, I really do love you!

Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns

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Have you ever wondered why they are called Jack O’Lanterns? Let me tell you the story of Stingy Jack . . .

Way back in Ireland, before America was discovered there was a man named Jack, nicknamed Stingy Jack, for all the mean tricks he played on people. He was even daring enough to play a trick on the Devil himself. One night, Jack got really drunk at a local pub and the Devil found him and Jack learned that the Devil was there to take his soul. He made it appear that he’d go with the Devil without a fuss, but requested to have one more drink. The Devil allowed it.

He invited the Devil for that drink and when their time at the pub ended, Jack did’t have any money to pay so he convinced the Devil that he could turn himself into a coin in order to fool the barkeep and they’d both be able to leave without any trouble. So the Devil, liking the idea, turned himself into a coin. But Jack decided to keep the money for himself and put the coin in his pocket with a little silver cross to keep the Devil from escaping. Of course, Jack thought himself clever for having successfully trapped the Devil and decided to make a deal with him. He agreed to set the Devil free under one condition; he could not bother him for one year. The Devil promised to keep his end of the bargain and Jack set him free.

The Devil returned to cross Jack’s path one year later, as promised. This time Jack asked for one last thing to eat. They were standing near an apple tree. So he asked the Devil to climb the tree and pick one of the apples for him. The Devil did so and when he got up in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the trunk of the tree so the Devil couldn’t get down. He decided to make another deal with him. Jack told the Devil he’d set him free under one condition; he could not bother him for another ten years and he could not claim his soul. This deal was a little more difficult for the Devil to make, but he eventually gave in. He would not bother Stingy Jack for ten years and he promised not to claim his soul.

Jack eventually died, because nobody lives forever and when his soul made its way to heaven, he was not accepted at the gates. After being turned away, Jack knew there was only one other place to go. When he arrived at the gates of Hell the Devil laughed and reminded him of their bargain. He could not claim Jack’s soul. He gave Jack an ember and sent him away.

With nowhere to go, Jack took the ember and placed it in a hollowed out turnip and since then has wandered the earth as a lost soul with only the makeshift lantern to light his way. But because he was not the friendliest of spirits, living or dead, he still continued to play some of his tricks. So during his peak time, the season of Halloween, the people of his village started carving terrifying faces into turnips and leaving them on their doorsteps, in their windows and in their gardens. The lights inside were to help light Jack’s way, but the faces were meant to scare him away from their homes.

When the Irish came to America centuries later, they brought their traditions over with them and found that pumpkins, an American gourd, made better Jack O’Lanterns. Their fellow immigrants from other countries picked up the tradition and now we see pumpkin Jack O’Lanterns every Halloween.

Here is another excerpt from my upcoming book “Tales Untold” with my version of the story:

“Tales Untold” The Story of Jack

“Have you ever heard of the legend of Jack?” Alastair asked as they walked through the woods. Therian searched his memory. The name Jack did sound familiar.
“I’ll give you a hint. His legend has been told over the course of multiple tales, but never altogether as one,” Alastair went on.
“I do remember an old tale about a famous giant slayer, but no one has ever believed it to be true,” Therian replied.
“I can tell you now for sure that it is true. Listen and I’ll show you,” Alastair went on. “Long ago, there was a boy named Jack. His mother was poor, his father left to seek his fortune and never returned. After many years, when Jack was of age to work, his mother sent him into the village to sell a cow. On his way he met a man who offered him a great opportunity. He was to serve the King and be rewarded handsomely if his task was successful.”
“Let me guess, his task was to slay a giant,” Therian interrupted. He started to remember the old tale, even with details like that one. Alastair glared at him, slightly agitated by the interruption.
“Yes, it was. No more interruptions,” Alastair snapped. “Jack took the opportunity and exchanged the cow he was to sell for a handful of beans he was told were magic and would help him on his quest. When he brought the relics home to his mother and told her what happened she thought him a fool and became furious. She threw the beans out the window and when she did, a great beanstalk grew from their landing almost immediately.”
“I thought it happened overnight?” Therian asked.
“Do you want the truth or not? And I said no more interruptions,” Alastair growled. “I would imagine you might know the next part too, how Jack climbed the beanstalk and came across a fire breathing dragon?”
“I thought it was a giant?” Therian asked.
“A dragon is giant, is it not?” Alastair argued. Therian shrugged, agreeing that the man had a good point. “The dragon was oppressing the kingdom and stealing all the gold and treasures from its citizens. The King wanted Jack to slay the dragon and return what was stolen. He did so and became a hero and now a legend. He was knighted by the King and lead many more quests right up until the very end.”
“What happened to him?” Therian asked.
“This is the part that no one really knows for sure. Even those who know the truth of the legend have made theories on Jack’s end. The most common being that he made a deal with an evil man,” Alastair went on.
“A deal?” Therian said aloud. He looked at Alastair in shock, recent events all coming together suddenly. “The man who made the deal with my parents for my life? Is it the same man?” Alastair stayed silent. “Do you know him?”
“No, I don’t know him. Not personally at least. The theory goes that one fateful night, the evil man overheard the tale of Jack’s fame. Skeptical and jealous of such rumors, the man went to find out for himself if it all was true. When he met Jack in the flesh and saw with his own eyes how he lived, he struck Jack a deal. Eternal life for his loyal services. Of course Jack could see right through him. He knew that if he had to give his loyal services to this man, the quests he would be assigned would be for dark purposes. Jack couldn’t bring himself to do it, so he refused, but even that cost him. Ten years later, to the day, Jack died a sudden death and when he tried to cross over into the afterlife he wasn’t permitted beyond the gates. From that day on until eternity’s end, Jack is doomed to roam the world between the planes of the living and the dead, with only an ember inside a hollowed pumpkin to light his way.”
“A Jack O’Lantern? That’s why we light them during the Harvest Season? To help guide Jack?” Therian asked.
“Yes. The tradition still withstands, but its meaning and origin is damn nearly extinct,” Alastair replied. “Since the fall of Jack the Giant Slayer, the knights who had once followed him renamed themselves The Jacks in honor of their fallen leader. No one knows who they are anymore because they like to keep it that way. Their service is a secret and their identity is a secret. But there will always be a need for a new generation of Jacks at some point or another.”

 

All Hallows Writing Tag #2

The Rules:#1 – Provide a BRIEF description of your novel before starting.

Tales Untold: There are two sides to every story. There are sometimes more than two sides to a story. Tales Untold explores the points of view of Asher (whom we know as the magic mirror in Snow White), Pumpkin (whom we know as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother), Therian (whom we know as the huntsman who rescued little red riding hood and her grandmother from the wolf) and Nymphaea (who turned the prince into a frog, another prince into a beast and put Sleeping Beauty to sleep). They become recruited to revive an ancient and secret knighthood created by the famed Jack the Giant Slayer.

#2 – Don’t use the same character for more than 3 answers.

The Questions:

It’s Halloween night! What is your protagonist dressed up as? 

Asher: Prince Charming

Pumpkin: A Dragon

Therian: prince Prospero (by demand of Nymphaea)

Nymphaea: the mask of red death

Who in your cast refuses to dress up and shows up at the Halloween party without a costume? 

Alastair. Boss man takes life seriously.

Which character wears the most outrageous costume, and what would it be? 

Pumpkin. She’s crafty and made her own dragon costume.

On Halloween, werewolves, vampires, and zombies are on the prowl. Which of your characters get caught in their clutches, and which creature do they subsequently turn into? 

Therian. He was turned into a werewolf close enough to All Hallows’ Eve anyway.

Who wins the contest for best costume? 

Princess Lily 

Who hands out toothbrushes to the trick and treaters?

Warhardt. He’s a real dragon who cares a lot about children and doesn’t understand Halloween.

Which two of your characters decide to pair up and do an angel/devil costume together?

Therian and Nymphaea. 

Someone is too scared to even attend the Halloween party. Who is it?

Hawke. Therian’s brother.

Who overdoses on Halloween candy and ends up sick?

Peter. The orphan who helps Therian storm the castle. Children have no candy control.

Which character is most likely to place a curse/hex on someone and who would they curse

Nymphaea because that’s her MO.

All Hallows Writing Tag

All Hallows Write TagThe Rules:

#1 – Provide a BRIEF description of your novel before starting.

Good Knight: There is a Dream World and there is a Sandman and a whole kingdom of tooth fairies. The Dream World almost all falls apart at the hands of Prince Grendelmere, the Prince of Nightmares who’s plan is to take control of all the dream knights and break them so his Nightmares can run free and haunt the very children the dream knights protect. Eight year old Penelope Pimm nearly loses her belief in her Teddy Bear, but soon learns the truth of his fate is in her hands one night when Prince Grendelmere’s Nightmares come to kidnap her dream knight. Penelope bravely follows them into the Dream World and embarks on an unlikely quest to rescue her Teddy Bear and all the other dream knights from a terrifying fate.

#2 – Don’t use the same character for more than 3 answers.

The Questions:

It’s Halloween night! What is your protagonist dressed up as? 

Penelope is dressed as a princess because she’s 8 and based off of my sister who thinks she’s a princess. 

Who in your cast refuses to dress up and shows up at the Halloween party without a costume? 

Pretty much no one since their way of life is disguising themselves, they don’t know any other way.

Which character wears the most outrageous costume, and what would it be? 

Prince Grendelmere because he’s a bit of a diva.

On Halloween, werewolves, vampires, and zombies are on the prowl. Which of your characters get caught in their clutches, and which creature do they subsequently turn into? 

Sir Theodore. His main purpose in the whole story is to get kidnapped so … Not sure what he’d get turned into though.

Who wins the contest for best costume? 

The Fable Keeper. Simply because her costume is my favorite out of everyone.

Who hands out toothbrushes to the trick and treaters?

Princess Peppermint. She is princess of the tooth fairies after all.

Which two of your characters decide to pair up and do an angel/devil costume together?

Sir Puck and his crew. 

Someone is too scared to even attend the Halloween party. Who is it?

Sir Theodore. Given his courage gets taken away I feel this is appropriate.

Who overdoses on Halloween candy and ends up sick?

Penelope. She’s the only child in the room.

Which character is most likely to place a curse/hex on someone and who would they curse

Prince Grendelmere. This is the exact cause of this entire story! He puts a curse on Sir Theodore.