My Raven Girl: A Realm of Light Snippet

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Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The yellow leaves are yours, their color so vivid against the blood red veins. They’re exquisitely unique, rare beauties. Like you.

I select the fairest of them and place it reverently aside before piling the rest into a golden mound and placing my palm to the top. No one else need see these, they’re meant for only us, and I won’t share them with any undeserving fool who enters my forest. I close my eyes to better concentrate and pull deep from that inner well of heat until the familiar tang of smoldering foliage reaches my nostrils.

Leaning back on my heels, I observe as the leaves succumb to my power, crumbling one after another into fine, white-grey ash. My thoughts drift back to you — as they often do — and the thrill of your power and mine. We were made to compliment the other, your flames and my ash. You were born for me, just as I was for you. What would it feel like, I wonder, to be burned by you? To see your body marked by my ashes?

Quicker than thought, I reach into the crackling collection and snatch out one last golden leaf, marveling as the heat pulses against my pale skin. My prize is still pristine, still perfect. Twisting the brittle stalk, I place it next to yours in safety.

Yours I’ll leave on our table in the forest, mine I’ll take home with me tonight to better think of you. Your beauty, your grace, your kindness, your power, and your Spirit. One day they’ll be mine, you’ll give them to me freely I know. But we have time yet, my Raven-Girl. We have time. Until then I can dream. I can plan.

*This is just a little flash fiction in the point of view of one of my characters from my WIP Ashes, I hope you enjoy it!

The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast (2.0)

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

9780064404778

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

HeartsBlood_3900

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

poto2-jpg

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Beauty and the Beast (2017 Live Action) — This movie had epic hopes and dreams placed upon it before  I even walked in the theaters my lovelies. I mean let’s be honest, I’ve waited YEARS to see this thing (I was writing about it back in March of 2015 for crying out loud)! And it was WORTH IT!!! This beautiful, magical, epic film was everything I ever wanted it to be and more! I literally started crying ten minutes in and couldn’t leave the theaters until ten minutes after the movie ended because I was just flat out happy sobbing. No joke. I have no idea why it made me so emotional, but I loved every minute of it and I’m so happy and thankful that this version exists now 😀 The costuming, the music, the visuals, everything was just so spot-on and fun and I cannot wait to see it again. Plus the Beast’s song (Evermore) just broke my heart and has been on repeat ever since I left the theater! Happy sigh…

Just chilling on the staircase with Cogsworth…

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

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Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Happy National Siblings Day!

In honor of National Siblings Day my lovelies…I hope you enjoy!

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Image Credit:  http://www.zerochan.net/1210444

Starling

Once upon a time there was a girl born of a wish — the most powerful and ancient sort of magick.

Her mother, looking up to the splendor of the Great Moon one dark evening, had wished for a child all her own, and in her benevolence, the Moon gave her a beautiful daughter. This child born of the greatest of wishes was named Moon Maiden and she was loved and cherished from her first breath.

The joy and love between mother and daughter was fierce and bright, and grew all the greater with the dawning of each new day. But as the years passed and the girl-child grew, she became terribly lonely. More than anything she wanted a companion, a playmate to share in all her adventures, and though her mother would deny her nothing, this was something she simply could not give.

“You were given to me by the Great Moon, my love” her mother explained, tucking Moon Maiden into her small, warm bed for the evening. She kissed the little girl’s brow and sat beside her.

“And could the Great Moon not give you another child Momma?” Moon Maiden asked, her youthful hope refusing to be dashed so quickly.

“I think not my love,” her mother said sadly, unwilling to break her little one’s heart. “For who can expect more than one great wish in a lifetime to come true? And I used my wish for you. I do not think I can have a second.”

“I understand,” Moon Maiden whimpered, little silver tears falling down her plump cheeks. She said no more, but kissed her mother good night and laid down to sleep.

But little Moon Maiden did not sleep. Instead she waited for the soft sound of her mother’s sleepy snore before stealing away into the forest around her home in search of a glimpse of the inky night sky above the canopy of tall trees. Her mother could not help her, but that was alright, Momma had used her wish, but she still had hers. She didn’t know what to do, but she knew she had to try.

She walked further and further into the forest that was her second home until at last the white light of the moon and the glimmering sparkle of starlight shone down upon her lovingly. She stopped, hopeful that this would be a good spot for wishing. A little frightened, but more determined than ever, she closed her eyes and tilted her little face skyward.

“Hello?” she began, her voice uncertain but clear. “My name is Moon Maiden and I was born of a wish — my mother’s. She wished for me and the Great Moon gave me to her.” She was not sure the Great Moon would remember her after these five long years and thought a little reminder could not hurt. “I am very happy here in the forest with Mother…but I get so very lonely. There are no other children to play with, Mother says they’re frightened of me, but I so badly want a friend…”

The little girl’s voice became wistful, and her heart swelled with all the love she had inside her. It was a great deal. There was magic in the air now, she felt it as the moonbeams tickled her skin in remembrance. She opened her mouth to speak, sure now that she would be heard, but stopped before the wish spilled out. Her mother had wished on the Great Moon and the Moon gave her a daughter. If she wished on it now, would she be given another girl-child, a sister?

She didn’t know for certain, but she imagined having a sister would be like having another version of herself, nothing special in that. She would love whatever she was given, but if she had the choice…

I want a brother, she thought fervently, a baby brother to call my own.

But who was she to wish to for such a thing? Surely not the Moon with her gentle, billowing light. No, the Great Moon would not do for this, but maybe the other lights in the night sky held some power. Perhaps they would help?

“Great Stars, I wish for a brother of my very own. A friend to share all my adventures with, who I can love forever as Mother loves me. Please hear me. Please.”

She stood quietly for a time, imagining the brother of her dreams — in case the stars should need a little inspiration — before raising her palms to the sky and spinning round once, twice, three times beneath the shining starlight, just for good measure.

And when at last she crawled back into the warmth of her bed, Moon Maiden fell asleep with a small smile and dreamed of a little boy with nut-brown hair and grass-green eyes. A brother, a real one, a friend to call her own. A great wish made of the greatest of love.

*****

“Tell me again,” he said, snuggling closer and rubbing his tired green eyes with a chubby little fist.

Moon Maiden wrapped her arm around his little shoulders and hugged him close. He nestled the top of his head against her side, tickling her arm with his nut-brown hair as she settled in to tell his favorite bedtime story yet again. It was a tale she never tired of.

“Once upon a time my Starling,” she began, pointing to the night sky, to the place both their stories began and feeling that familiar thump of love in her heart. “Once upon a time I wished for you.”

*This story, while definitely fantasy, is actually based on true events my lovelies. My mother did wish upon the moon (or rather moonbeams) for me and with in a month I was conceived (although unlike Moon Maiden, I do have a father lol), and I did pray for a baby brother every night before I went to sleep, until finally I was given one. In a way, this is the story of my family 😀

(P.S. Happy National Siblings Day to my amazing little brother. You were my Great Wish <3)

A Mother’s Love

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

A Mother’s Love

I was running before I could even think to. The sharp slap of the tall prickling grass as it marred my skin was my only connection to the world around me as I tore across the open ground, barreling past the farthest borders of the village, headlong to the stone archway, the Gate to the other Realm, my Realm. Where my children now were. My boys. My sons. The others wouldn’t be far behind me, they would flee to the Gates — an unstoppable onslaught of terrified humanity — and in doing so, bring those monsters with them. They would lead those things to my children.

There was no time.

So I ran. Faster and longer than I’d ever run before. Never slowing, never stopping. The knowledge of what must be done writhed inside my stomach like a coil of snakes, but I pushed it down, flung it aside, allowing no other thoughts to enter my mind that the image of my sons as I’d last left them. If I thought about the rest I would never be able to do it.

Ryzan, my eldest — just five summers old — had been so fearless. He’d held my Ryvan’s little hand, lending his younger brother courage for their first adventure without me and a surge of beaming pride had nearly swamped me, though I hid my tears in a wide smile.

“Look after your brothers,” I’d told him, kissing Ryvan noisily on his plump, dimpled cheek before looking back into Ryzan’s deep copper eyes. “Keep them safe for me Ryzan.”

My boy had nodded, his grin easy and assured, so much his father’s son. “I will Momma,” he said, as his brother squealed happily with laughter at my kisses before clinging back to Ryzan’s hand like clenched steel,

“Ryvan and I will have lots of adventures — won’t we Ryvan? Uncle says so!” And I knew with certainty my middle son would be just fine without me for a time. Ryvan would go anywhere as long as Ryzan led the way.

And Rynan, my baby, wrapped in extra blankets against the chill of the Realm of Light, he would have a cavalcade of admirers vying to care for him. I wondered again if he would take a chill — my boys were used to the blistering heat of the desert in the Realm of Stones, not the fluctuating seasons of my old forest-blanketed home — but my littlest son never stirred, never whimpered. He merely watched me from my brother’s arms, serene, peaceful, accepting whatever fate handed him. My arms had ached to snatch him back to me, but I clenched them to my chest. “I’ll see you in just a few days,” I said again, as much for my sake as theirs.

A few days…But that was before. I bit back a breathless cry. My precious ones, my sons, the very blood and beating of my heart. They had to stay safe, hidden in that other Realm, away from these killing creatures. But they wouldn’t if I didn’t reach the Gate first. The part of me that was vampyre flared wildly to life, fueling my speed and lending me strength as I hurdled through the unclaimed lands. But it was only temporary.

My breath was ragged, my lungs strangely bursting when the grey-stone gateway came into sight at long last. The muscles in my legs burned like well-stoked embers as I pushed savagely on, surveying the strange clearing without slowing. But there was no one here. I was alone. I had done it.

The stone boulders that made up the Realm Gate were eerily cool to the touch despite the desert sun burning down on them as I all but slammed myself against them before sinking to my knees, gulping in air as I never had before. For a moment there was only the sound of my rattling lungs and the rapid beat of my heart in my ears and I remembered my mother and the dangers of pushing a too-human body with too-little vampyre blood. Though, I reasoned that I wasn’t quite to the point of death, just utter exhaustion, as my breathing began to slow and sensation came back to my bruised feet with the sharp stabbing of thousands of knives. The pain cleared away the remnants of my memories and the immediacy of the world came back to me.

I lurched upwards, forcing myself to my feet until I stood shakily before the Gate, ready to melt back into my Realm, to close the portal from the inside. But before I could make myself move, I jerked back as though struck, horrified. Varrick, my husband! In my sudden fear and flight I’d forgotten him! Was he dead? Was my husband gone already, torn apart by those…monsters before they’d attacked our home? Surely these were the creatures he and the others had been searching for…? What if…

My knees began to shake. I was all but desperate to see my sons, to leave this place, but unwilling to leave their father. My boys were safe for the moment, but Varrick could still be out there, fighting his way through these unspeakable horrors. My heart skittered painfully. He would go home, I knew it with a surety that reached down into the marrow of my bones. Varrick would go home, to find me, to protect me. He’d never stop searching. If I left him now I may never find him again. Could I live with myself? But if I stayed…

The horror of it shook through me and I trembled. If I left now I would live, I would close the Gate from inside the Realm of Light, sealing the inhabitants of the Realm of Stone and these creatures inside, possibly forever. I would have my sons, my family, my life…

But if I closed the Gate here… If I sealed myself in this cursed Realm, my sons would still be safe and I could search for Varrick. The trembling worsened.

My sons.

My husband.

My life.

My lover’s.

I stood torn before the Gate’s reflective surface, hesitating as my entire being screamed and wrenched itself into two. My instinct to live and to hold my children once more warred against the love in my heart and the knowledge deep in my Spirit that if I were to leave now, I could never live with myself. Leaving would kill me just as surely as staying would. I looked up and the reflection staring back at me from the watery mirror of the gate was crazed, copper eyes too wide, black hair windblown, with traces of old blood marking pale flesh where the grass had sliced soft skin.  This face didn’t belong to the Summer Girl I used to be, this was another girl all together, a new creature born of fear and heartbreak. I wasn’t sure what she was yet, but she frightened me. I frightened me. She was dangerous. She was deadly. She was me.

A burst of unexpected noise some distance behind me broke the haunting spell and I looked away from the Gate, away from that other girl. My heart pounded a warning and war-cry. there was no more time, someone was coming. Or something. The danger rushed back to me and I knew my decision and suffered as my heart ripped in two. I would never get to say goodbye. There was no guarantee I would ever get the Gate back open again. There was no guarantee I would have enough power to close it. This may be forever. I was only a Fireling after all, not Spirit-Speaker like my grandmother, gifted with the power to control Realm Gates. But I had to try. There was only moments left. I had to try.

“Forgive me,” I whispered, grasping the smooth stones on either side of the waiting portal as the rustling edged closer. The fire inside me flared to life, hotter, angrier, and more desperate than I’d ever felt it before. I grasped the heat, feeling it to burst into flame, and pulled, yanking at the source of the power deep in my blood, in my heart. The fire roared inside me, dangerous, lethal. I gasped, fighting to hold onto it as it writhed inside me, scorching me from the inside out. Pain blinded me. For the first time in my life, the fire burned me, burned my veins, the sinews and muscles inside me, and my heart, turning me from flame to ash.

With a violent scream, I slammed my hands into the rippling mirror, shoving the raging flame of my gift into the very heart of the portal. Be as stone, I commanded silently, feeling my gift leave me and the watery gate miraculously harden and blacken beneath my charred hands. Close. Seal. Shut.

With a final grinding slam of falling boulders, the Gate thrust me back and I staggered, utterly spent, staring at the damage I had wrought. The ethereal Gate was no more than a blackened pillar of stones, a charred ruin. I swayed. My sons were safe. They would live in the peace of the forests with my brother and his wife and my mother and father. They would grow up in the land of gift-bearers and vampyres, perhaps even venture to Britannia one day to lay claim to their grandfather’s people. They would grow in peace and love. And they would never know. Never know the gruesome truth of what happened today, of the decision that was made, or of what their safety cost. I hugged my chest, desperate now to hold together. My sons were safe.

But an entire Realm was now trapped, thousands held prisoner in this nightmare. Because of me.

All the thoughts I had held at bay before rushed in, seizing me. I looked down to the reddened flesh of my own hands and stumbled to my knees, cracking them across the stone base. Now I was truly that other girl. I was dangerous. I was a murderess. A monster. A killer. These scarlet hands would wear the blood of thousands for as long as I lived. I hadn’t allowed myself to acknowledge the truth before, the truth of what my boys’ safety would mean for the rest. But now the truth ravaged my Spirit. I had damned an entire Realm to the terror of monsters and blood and death. I had done this.

But my sons were safe. And my husband… Varrick! Where was he?! My need for him flared wildly, consuming me. I needed Varrick! I had to find him! He would understand, he would see that I had saved them. He would forgive me. He would love me. Even now.

But would he even recognize me now? I was no longer his Summer Girl, innocent and bright, now I was that other girl, a monster, a murderer. But I had done it for them, did that make any difference? I wasn’t sure, though in my heart I understood one awful, bitter truth. I would do it again. I would do anything to keep them safe, and if the entirety of the Realm of Stones had to perish, so be it. I was a mother, and there was no creature more dangerous than I.

*****

This is a clip from my WIP Ashes, I hope you enjoy! 😀

 

The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

9780064404778

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

HeartsBlood_3900

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

poto2-jpg

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Starling

starry-night-wallpaper-3

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Starling

Once upon a time there was a girl born of a wish –the most powerful and ancient sort of magick.

Her mother, looking up to the splendor of the Great Moon one dark evening, had wished for a child all her own, and in her benevolence, the Moon gave her a beautiful daughter. This child born of the greatest of wishes was named Moon Maiden and she was loved and cherished from her first breath.

The joy and love between mother and daughter was fierce and bright, and grew all the greater with the dawning of each new day. But as the years passed and the girl-child grew, she became terribly lonely. More than anything she wanted a companion, a playmate to share in all her adventures, and though her mother would deny her nothing, this was something she simply could not give.

“You were given to me by the Great Moon, my love” her mother explained, tucking Moon Maiden into her small, warm bed for the evening. She kissed the little girl’s brow and sat beside her.

“And could the Great Moon not give you another child Momma?” Moon Maiden asked, her youthful hope refusing to be dashed so quickly.

“I think not my love,” her mother said sadly, unwilling to break her little one’s heart. “For who can expect more than one great wish in a lifetime to come true? And I used my wish for you. I do not think I can have a second.”

“I understand,” Moon Maiden whimpered, little silver tears falling down her plump cheeks. She said no more, but kissed her mother good night and laid down to sleep.

But little Moon Maiden did not sleep. Instead she waited for the soft sound of her mother’s sleepy snore before stealing away into the forest around her home in search of a glimpse of the inky night sky above the canopy of tall trees. Her mother could not help her, but that was alright, Momma had used her wish, but she still had hers. She didn’t know what to do, but she knew she had to try.

She walked further and further into the forest that was her second home until at last the white light of the moon and the glimmering sparkle of starlight shone down upon her lovingly. She stopped, hopeful that this would be a good spot for wishing. A little frightened, but more determined than ever, she closed her eyes and tilted her little face skyward.

“Hello?” she began, her voice uncertain but clear. “My name is Moon Maiden and I was born of a wish — my mother’s. She wished for me and the Great Moon gave me to her.” She was not sure the Great Moon would remember her after these five long years and thought a little reminder could not hurt. “I am very happy here in the forest with Mother…but I get so very lonely. There are no other children to play with, Mother says they’re frightened of me, but I so badly want a friend…”

The little girl’s voice became wistful, and her heart swelled with all the love she had inside her. It was a great deal. There was magic in the air now, she felt it as the moonbeams tickled her skin in remembrance. She opened her mouth to speak, sure now that she would be heard, but stopped before the wish spilled out. Her mother had wished on the Great Moon and the Moon gave her a daughter. If she wished on it now, would she be given another girl-child, a sister?

She didn’t know for certain, but she imagined having a sister would be like having another version of herself, nothing special in that. She would love whatever she was given, but if she had the choice…

I want a brother, she thought fervently, a baby brother to call my own.

But who was she to wish to for such a thing? Surely not the Moon with her gentle, billowing light. No, the Great Moon would not do for this, but maybe the other lights in the night sky held some power. Perhaps they would help?

“Great Stars, I wish for a brother of my very own. A friend to share all my adventures with, who I can love forever as Mother loves me. Please hear me. Please.”

She stood quietly for a time, imagining the brother of her dreams — in case the stars should need a little inspiration — before raising her palms to the sky and spinning round once, twice, three times beneath the shining starlight, just for good measure.

And when at last she crawled back into the warmth of her bed, Moon Maiden fell asleep with a small smile and dreamed of a little boy with nut-brown hair and grass-green eyes. A brother, a real one, a friend to call her own. A great wish made of the greatest of love.

*****

“Tell me again,” he said, snuggling closer and rubbing his tired green eyes with a chubby little fist.

Moon Maiden wrapped her arm around his little shoulders and hugged him close. He nestled the top of his head against her side, tickling her arm with his nut-brown hair as she settled in to tell his favorite bedtime story yet again. It was a tale she never tired of.

“Once upon a time my Starling,” she began, pointing to the night sky, to the place both their stories began and feeling that familiar thump of love in her heart. “Once upon a time I wished for you.”

*This story, while definitely fantasy, is actually based on true events my lovelies. My mother did wish upon the moon (or rather moonbeams) for me and with in a month I was conceived (although unlike Moon Maiden, I do have a father lol), and I did pray for a baby brother every night before I went to sleep, until finally I was given one. In a way, this is the story of my family 😀

I’m even thinking of turning this into a children’s book (hence the simplified language and sentence structure lol), and though I’ve never had any interest before in writing children’s stories,  I see pictures in my head so clearly  (I  so wish I could draw!) and more adventures ahead for Starling and Moon Maiden. And anyway, it might be fun to dabble with a different type of storytelling every now and then. 😀

My Raven Girl

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The yellow leaves are yours, their color so vivid against the blood red veins. They’re exquisitely unique, rare beauties. Like you.

I select the fairest of them and place it reverently aside before piling the rest into a golden mound and placing my palm to the top. No one else need see these, they’re meant for only us, and I won’t share them with any undeserving fool who enters my forest. I close my eyes to better concentrate and pull deep from that inner well of heat until the familiar tang of smoldering foliage reaches my nostrils.

Leaning back on my heels, I observe as the leaves succumb to my power, crumbling one after another into fine, white-grey ash. My thoughts drift back to you — as they often do — and the thrill of your power and mine. We were made to compliment the other, your flames and my ash. You were born for me, just as I was for you. What would it feel like, I wonder, to be burned by you? To see your body marked by my ashes?

Quicker than thought, I reach into the crackling collection and snatch out one last golden leaf, marveling as the heat pulses against my pale skin. My prize is still pristine, still perfect. Twisting the brittle stalk, I place it next to yours in safety.

Yours I’ll leave on our table in the forest, mine I’ll take home with me tonight to better think of you. Your beauty, your grace, your kindness, your power, and your Spirit. One day they’ll be mine, you’ll give them to me freely I know. But we have time yet, my Raven-Girl. We have time. Until then I can dream. I can plan.

*This is just a little flash fiction in the point of view of one of my characters from my WIP Ashes, I hope you enjoy it!  And I’m sorry for repeatedly posting things from the Moonstonemaiden vault all week my lovelies, but I’ve been a bit sore and uncomfortably bruised after falling down a staircase on Tuesday morning and bouncing down a few wooden stairs — needless to say, sitting is quite painful, but nothing was broken lol. (I then preceded to slam my thumb in the door yesterday evening and thought I was going to pass out, but settled instead on wailing at the top of my lungs, mostly out of frustration, for a good few minutes lol.) But suddenly accident-prone or not, new posts are coming my lovelies, I promise! 😀

The Importance Of Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have always been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember my lovelies, and I still content myself with revisiting childhood characters and wonderfully impossible stories whenever I get the chance. From the traditional Disney films, to old classic shows I watched as a child (Grimm’s Classic Fairy Tales!) to reinterpretations both in movie and book format, I just love the magic and simplistic beauty of a well-told fairy tale. The stories seem so cozy, like a blanket I can cuddle with whenever life gets to be too much.

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

They tend to be intimate, in the sense that there aren’t a cavalcade of characters bustling in and out, but a select few that the audience is asked to bond with. And so the story is made that much stronger, when the characters ache, we ache, when they rejoice, we do. This links characters and readers together so strongly that their stories become a part of who we are and how we define ourselves.

Mermaid Image From Google.

Mermaid Image From Google.

Their setting can vary from a beautiful palace, to a secluded forest, or the ocean depths, but always there is a separateness, a sense of loneliness that beckons you in and makes you feel like you are an integral part of the tale itself, as though if you didn’t hear the ending, the characters would remain lost and broken forever. You make the story happen.

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

The plots are magical, in ways that force you to put the dreariness of everyday life aside and believe – even if for only a moment — that magic and hope really do exist. But too often these stories are overlooked and considered childish because of their perceived unrealistic qualities. We’re told they hold impossible nonsense and that there are some dreams too big to come true, some stories too much to hope for.

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

In the end we’re told these characters aren’t real, they aren’t as frail and human as others, and therefore their lessons are less important. But I don’t think there are stories more apt to show the beauty, truth, and depth of humanity than the tale of a mermaid who dreams about having an immortal soul, or a beauty that can see past disfigurement to acknowledge true love. These are truly the stories to admire. These are the stories that live forever.

*Originally posted on 9/30/2014

Of Dreams And Nightmares

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Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Inspiration can come in many forms my lovelies and it varies for each writer and each story they set out to tell. It can be a snippet of a poem, a lyric from a song, or the way a color brightens in the morning light that sets our minds buzzing with insatiable curiosity. For me it’s usually music that strikes a chord, but quite a few of my plotlines have come to me in dreams and nightmares.

Some are beautiful and sad, with brilliant colors and emotions so strong I can still taste them after I wake. But others are so dark and frightening they leave me paralyzed for days after, too afraid to fully comprehend what I’ve seen, but unwilling to forget the story I’ve been told. One dream stands out vividly, and I think always will, with its pain, horror, and unimaginable sadness and unthinkable monsters — the likes of which, I’d never come across before. It pulled me in and refused to let me go, even when I woke up multiple times gasping for breath, I only had seconds before I fell back asleep and the story picked right back up where I left it.

There were people I knew in this dream and some places I recognized (markers for characters and settings for the novel, i.e. my best friend was the characters best friend, my love hers etc.) and it was so real. Every moment felt as though it could be my last. There were brief moments of hope followed by crushing pain and always the need to stay alive…to just stay alive no matter what. It was me, but in so many ways it wasn’t, and when I finally woke I knew exactly whose story it was. The character and her story frightened me, intrigued me…and inspired me. I have many WIP’s and planned future stories that happily take up my time and thoughts, but this one is never far from my mind. I hear it’s pain in music and see it in colors that captivate me, and occasionally when, I’m lucky I dream of it again, though it’s never the same dream.

As much as it scared me, I understand now how incredibly helpful that first dream was, it made me understand…it forced me to see things I didn’t want to see. And now I find myself longing to dream it again, to see it as vividly as I did years ago, as it’s faded a bit with time, and there are certain things I don’t remember as clearly. But that is the way of dreams and of inspiration, it strikes white-hot for only a moment before slowly turning into a slightly blurry, haunting notion that tickles your mind and leaves you scrabbling to catch a wisp of it before it disappears forever.

What inspires you my lovelies? Has it ever been a dream or a nightmare?

*Originally posted on 2/26/2014 in response to a Daily Prompt.

The Water Maiden: A Realm of Light Short Story

The closest to restless spirits my Realm of Light  novels (Believe, Prophecy, Ashes, and others) get…

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Water Maiden

She had lurked in the rolling, pounding depths for nearly a thousand years, a presence under the undulating surface with no true form beyond a vague sense of being. Lolling and drifting, she spread like a drop of ink, but never left the waters surrounding the ruins of what had been a mighty castle, the home of the ancient gift-bearer kings. Her memory, still perfect after all this time, recalled those days when the iolite-laced walls were tall, unscarred, and whole and when torches blazed with life and light. She had been born here, in that time once upon a time and had spent her life among the people who had lived within the stone walls. She’d walked the derelict stone corridors, smelled the fresh sweetness of the night-blooming flowers in the gardens, sat on a throne in the great hall, and slept in a lonely tower. That tower with secret winding steps…

She had lived here, loved here, hated here, and died here.

And now she waited, as she had waited for a millennia. All but one had passed beyond her senses, vague as they were beneath the icy waters. When she first woke to this existence all those years ago, it was with no knowledge of what she waited for, merely the awareness that she must wait. It did not take long for understanding to come. At first she felt them almost unceasingly. For centuries the consciousness of what she’d set into motion filled her until the flood slowed into a trickle, then a slow, steady drip. Friends, enemies, strangers, she felt them all and knew she would continue here until all those alive when she last drew breath were gone from the Realm of Light. The passing centuries gave her time to think, to reflect, to know. Her new life was no punishment, but a chance to heal, not just her own Spirit but countless others. And so she waited as the waves washed her Spirit clean of hate. They broke over her, broke within her, shattering and reforming her with each new tide. There was pain but she welcomed it. Centuries more passed with endless tides until only one remained. Only one. Just one.

Until now.

He was here, on the beach beneath the ruins. She sensed it. She sensed him.

At last, she and the water breathed with a releasing sigh. A ripple stirred across the frothy surface as she drifted upwards, gathering into a solid form that coalesced in the breaking of a white-capped wave. Suddenly she was, again for the first time in an age.

He watched the crashing waves, watched the violet-blue water crash down upon itself and turn white. He saw the water gather and fall and the woman form from the sparkling droplets. The fire of her hair caught the scant sunlight and shone, as vibrant as he remembered. It framed her ivory face beckoningly, and for that moment he believed she could truly be a sea siren, a being born of the depths and wilds of the water. By all the Spirits she was just as achingly lovely as ever, so beautiful, pain lanced across his chest, leaving him breathless. Her full wine-colored lips pursed in thought and her golden eyes bore into him as only hers could, leaving him feeling foolishly young – a sensation he had neither felt nor remembered in nearly a lifetime.

For moments they did nothing but stare, lost in thoughts and memories at the sight of each other. Years, centuries, a lifetime faded until they were once again the two people from a story lost to time.

Unused to speech, she fought to remember how to form the words that she must. With slow deliberateness, she opened her lips and thrilled at her voice – a strange tinny thing she no longer recognized above the waves. “Hello little boy,” she said with only a hint of mockery. Kindness, familiarity, and a deep respect echoed in her words. He grinned nervously and ran an elegant hand through his short dark hair. There was still something within her, even now, that left him with that embarrassing sense of immaturity. No one but she had ever made him feel that way, and now nearly a thousand years later he slipped back into the awkwardness of youth.

She smiled seeing his sudden uncertainty and knew she was a bit naughty to tease him so. The boyish vampyre she had known was no longer, this man before her was a hero, a legend in his own right. Even she had heard whispers of his greatness on the depths of the darkness. She had seen the possibility of such a man shining in the boy’s eyes all those years ago and now felt a strange pride in knowing he had become the man she thought he could be.

“I knew it would be you,” her voice carried across the water effortlessly to where he stood on the shore. The air was still and cool against her exposed flesh, but she did not shiver in her thin silk gown. The surging water kept her warm, tugging and pulling at her waist before rising again to brush the underside of her breasts. The tide was slow, hypnotic. “I knew.”

He nodded, not bothering to ask how, there was no point. He had known she was here, not at first, but over the centuries he felt her, heard tales of a water maiden, and knew she waited.

“I’m sorry to have kept you,” he replied, not sorry to have lived his life but that hers had not been. That she had been kept from him for all this time, even after all they had suffered before those last dark days. The injustice of it flashed like a fire beneath his pale skin. Had they not suffered enough in life? Was this really…

“Yes,” she nodded peacefully, knowing well where his thoughts were. “This was necessary.”

A stubborn gleam filled his onyx eyes as his sensuous mouth turned downwards. “But…”

“Nothing. What’s done is done my friend, and for a greater purpose than we may ever understand.” Spoken aloud, the truth of it all reverberated deep in their bones. The last of whatever kept her tied to the sea faded, releasing her to take one small step towards land, towards the fallen castle, towards him. One step, then another, and another until breathless and invigorated she stood in the shallows with only wavelets lapping at her toes. She hesitated then, frightened now that freedom was so close. What if she had it wrong? What if it was taken from her now when she wanted it most?

The man who had been the greatest vampyre king noted her sudden fear and held out a strong hand for her. The foolish youth was gone, he was once again the man he had been for centuries now. The man who never forgot the suffering and strength of this woman he had so missed.

She took his hand with a determined grin, exhilarated at his strength as well as her own as she stepped onto the sandy shore, walking a few steps until she was sure she was free. Joy, elation, excitement, and a small taste of sadness at leaving her home nearly overwhelmed her, crashing over her head like a breaking wave. He squeezed her hand questioningly and realizing she held her breath, she let it go, opening her eyes. Her lips curled into an adventurous, triumphant smile that was mirrored on his own up-turned lips.

“Are you ready My Lady?” he asked, feeling now an insistent tug on the edge of his consciousness. It urged him onward, their time was almost at an end. He did not want to forget her, but perhaps oblivion would right the wrongs of all those years ago. Perhaps they would all do better, be happier, this time. He certainly hoped so, for their sake if no other.

She felt the same tug, the same hint that time was finally coming to an end on this life. What would the next one bring for them all, all the players in the game that was her old life? “Yes,” she said slowly, turning towards the sun. Whether it was rising or falling, she struck out to meet it and he fell into step beside her. “Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked in silence for a time, the tug growing more persistent with every step, until he spoke one last time. “Did you ever see him?”

“No,” she whispered, picturing his face as she remembered it, knowing this was the last time Elesain would remembered Fallon. Their story was finally over, no one would remember him again as she did now. No one would remember her. With a sigh, she met Treyuston’s gaze as they continued walking, hand in hand.

“But I will.”

*This is set in the same land as my first novel Believe and is a short companion story to a future novel I haven’t written yet. I don’t normally jump ahead to future books (usually, though I have done so a bit with Ashes), but this was playing continuously in my head and I wanted to get it down before it disappeared! Hopefully it’s not too confusing, though I know you have no idea who these people are or what happened to them. Suffice it to say the title of the novel this goes with is Wrath, and that should give you some insight 😀