Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

Well my lovelies I do believe the reign of Whiney-Tara (aka me with a cold/sinus/thing) is finally coming to an end and I am happy to report I’m feeling better at last! I still kind of resemble Rudolph a bit, and sound a little less than lovely — and I randomly choke on what I can only guess is a shift in the air — but I’m feeling MUCH better and am ready to get back to my regularly random-scheduled blogging!

So, it’s photo challenge time again my lovelies, and this week the challenge is Eye Spy, which is much more of a challenge than I initially realized. I don’t really zero in on the eyes when I’m out snapping pictures but I dug up a few I think work pretty well. I hope you enjoy! 😀

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And because he’s just so darn cute:

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Promises and Poetry

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I’m a wee bit sickly,

How about you?

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Yep, that’s right, the dreaded sniffles have returned and Whiney-Tara once again reigns supreme! I’m sleepy, and stuffy, and sinus-y, and yuck! GRRRRRR.

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Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Anyway, it’s currently day three of Sniffles-Watch December 2015 and while I’m incredibly thankful that my throat no longer feels like the burning depths of flaming Tartarus, I now have nearly no air passing through my Rudolf-esque nostrils — resulting in the fact that I now sound like a semi-adorable cockney version of my southern self lol. Yeah, go-figure that one. I was literally sitting here watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, quoting along with it as per usual, when I suddenly heard myself saying: “Stap bla-wing hoe-wels  in moi sip!!!” It was entertaining and frightening all at once.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

But sudden onset-accents aside, I’ll muster up the strength and determination (mostly the determination) to type up new posts for you soon (aka tomorrow). But right now I’m still Whiney-Tara, and Whiney-Tara just wants to rewatch old episodes of Full House and keep sipping nice, cold sweet-tea like the nectar of the Gods that it is. ‘Til tomorrow my lovelies 😀

Once Upon a Time Moments: Season Four

Alright my lovelies, it’s time to delve back into one of my all-time favorite shows: Once Upon a Time!!! I’ve been trying to keep up with season five online (which is a bit of a nightmare really, I’m not used to dealing with commercials and weeklong breaks!) but I’m still reeling from all the shocks and surprises of season four and believe me, there were many! So let’s get to it!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Moonstonemaiden’s Favorite OUAT Season Four Moments:

1) When Snow lost her cool! – Or as I like to call it, the epic “Buy a flashlight!” moment, this is hands down the funniest moment in all of season four! It’s too much, really, just watch and see for yourselves:

2) When Hook had a cellphone – A 2oo year old pirate with a modern technical device…um yeah, let the hilarity ensue! The fact that Hook eventually broke down and revealed his complete cluelessness to Elsa had me laughing up a storm. But you know, kudos for trying Killian!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) When Elsa trusted Emma – Yay for this epic friendship! Emma seriously needs someone her age with powers that she can relate to and although I love her bestie-ship with Regina, it’s really Elsa who understands Emma’s fear concerning her magic. And when Elsa braves the danger and takes Emma’s hand I just adore her! Here’s hoping we get more of Arendelle royalty in upcoming seasons!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) The Spell of Shattered Sight – Not only was it gut-wrenching to see all my favorite couples and friends separate out of fear of harming those they loved most,  but it was also unexpectedly hilarious. I wasn’t sure whether to be teary with all the goodbyes (Hook/Emma and Robin/Regina anyone!) or to laugh my butt off when Snow and Charming started bickering over how to swaddle a baby and if the stroller was really under warranty! But perhaps the best bit was Snow and Regina’s all-out battle in the police station and their subsequent laugh-fest once the spell wore off and they realized what was happening!

5) When Emma Loved Ingrid -I thought the whole backstory of Emma and Ingrid was incredibly moving. It’s so nice to know that Emma had at least one loving family situation in her youth, and even though Ingrid was flawed, you could see the love between them. I think they would have made a wonderful family if things had turned out differently, and it makes me wonder how different their lives might have been.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

6) When Anna spoke her vows – I loved Anna in this show, she was just so outrageously adorable, but when she said her vows to Kristoff as they came closer and closer to drowning, I almost lost it. To see her actually lose hope was shocking and so very moving, and yes I am actually tearing up as I type this! If nothing else, this proved just how much she truly loved Kristoff — who, I must add, I ADORED in this show!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

7) When the Snow Queen sacrificed herself – Ingrid was one of those characters I didn’t care for a first and then ended up loving, so when she gave her life so that the town could live, it broke my heart! She just wanted the love of her family and forgiveness and really who doesn’t want these two things?! Between the music in the background and the little montage of her joining her sisters as children again, as though given a second chance, I was basically a weepy mess on the end of the couch.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

8) When Hook tried to warn Emma – For the love of all that is magical Rumple, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH YOU?! Stealing Hook’s heart and using him to help with nefarious deeds is not cool! But when Hook grabbed Emma’s hand and tried to communicate via their love I just about melted!

9) When Belle banished Rumple – What the Hell Rumple?!!! Sorry, but basically this wasn’t the best season for Rumbelle lovers considering Rumple had a backwards slide into darkness, but when Belle forced him to the town-line and then OUT of Storybrooke, I FREAKED!!! What was happening?! Rumple had been doing so well and then wham, out of the blue his darker tendencies creep back out and now he’s gone?! AGHHHHHH!!!No one messes with my Rumbelle!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

10) When the heroes faced their inner-darkness – One thing I did enjoy (as painful as it was) was all the moments when the Heroes finally battled their own inner-evils. Belle was the first, revealing that she’d selfishly not helped Anna in time, then Charming and Snow revealed the horrible truth of what they did to ensure that Emma was born good. Emma mourned the loss of a long-ago friend she’d pushed aside, and even Regina (now firmly a hero in my book) flirted with the idea of returning to her dark ways. I think it’s important to show that these great icons faltered along the way, they aren’t just 100% good all the time. They make horrible, life-altering mistakes, but they do their best to pick themselves up and make the world a better place.

11) When Ursula sang – Considering Ursula is my favorite Disney Villain(ess) ever, I was ecstatic to see her brought to the show for more than that one episode in season three (when Regina pretended to be her). Ursula’s backstory is another example of the writers of the show playing around with the fairy tales origin stories and creating something new but yet recognizable! I love that Ursula was basically Ariel (or a pre-Ariel) and that she and Hook had a semi-sweet history together.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

You know… before Hook stole her singing voice (to get back at her human-hating and blackmailing dad) and pissed her the HELL off!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

12) When Zelena revealed herself – Marian’s not real!!! I’ve never been so happy to see the end of a OUAT character lol!I mean, not that I’m not sad that Zelena killed the real Marian and took her place and all, but as a Outlaw Queen fan, let me just say: thank goodness Zelena’s back! I was starting to freak out there that another one of my couples was going to be cruelly split apart, so as much as I wanted to kick Zelena’s butt for interfering , I was also so happy to see her and not Marian!

13) When Maleficent met her daughter – I was so happy to see Maleficent back this season in all her stylish glory, but witnessing her emotional journey to be reunited with her daughter (Emma’s pushed away friend) Lily (who was inadvertently lost after Snow and Charming cursed her with all of Emma’s darkness) was one of my favorite parts of this season. I love the two of them together, how Maleficent was the perfect person to love Lily, even despite her darkness, and I look forward to seeing more of them as Maleficent teaches her daughter all about being a “scary dragon bitch”.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

14) When Regina fought for happiness – Considering the devastation Regina can unleash when her happiness is taken from her (the entirety of seasons one and two anyone?), I was so thrilled to see her stand up and fight for her right to be happy. She doesn’t give up, or turn dark, or curse anyone, but finally takes matter into her own hands the right way! Go Regina!!!

15) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – This was a cute throwback to one of Disney’s most well known films, and it was nice seeing it make it’s mark in Once Upon a Time’s history. And the sorcerer himself has me wondering…

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

16) When August returned – YES!!! How I’ve missed my favorite motorcycle riding puppet-man! There for a time I was rooting for him and Emma in season one, but now I think they are simply the best besties ever (other than my own bestie that is)! August is just so good for Emma, he’s pretty much perfect friend material and I love that their bond had Hook worried (although needlessly). But now that he’s returned he needs to stay put! But then, Pinocchio is not one to be tamed and tethered!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

17) When Disney was an Author – Not only did August deliver one of the best OUAT speeches ever, but he also revealed that Disney himself was an Author back in the day! How awesome is that?! Please excuse me as I sit here and SQUEE!!!

18) When Henry went into the book – It’s about time Henry got to have an adventure and be the hero! He demonstrated just how great he would be to have around in the Enchanted Forest and finally got to join his family inside a fairy tale book (albeit a dark one)!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

19) When Hook was a sweet coward – He may be the cutest, sweetest, most romantic, goat’s-milk drinking coward ever and I just adored him and his flirtatious interactions with Emma! When she was teaching him how to sword-fight I nearly swooned, but when he died to protect her and Henry I about lost it. I know it was all in an alternate universe, but watching Hook die was heart wrenching!

20) When Emma said “I love you” – Emma’s fear was palpable when she desperately searched for Killian after returning to Storybrooke, and their reunion one of their sweetest moments ever, but it was when she finally admitted that she loved him that had me keeling over from all the feels. It took three seasons and three alternate Hooks before she could say it, but she said it! No take backs!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

21) When Emma became the Dark One – Thanks to spoilers on Facebook (grrr) I knew this was coming, but watching it happen nearly ripped my heart out. But as sad as it was, I love that Emma did it to save Regina and that Regina can finally see just how much she means to Emma. And considering Emma’s darkness had been stripped away before birth, I think this will be an interesting thing for the Savior of Storybrooke to deal with. But oh, the heartache of her being ripped from her family and Hook!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

22) The progression of Captain Swan – In one word: perfection. The show really gave Hook and Emma the time to forge something real after that epic season three finale kiss and I couldn’t be more appreciative! It wasn’t all roses and sunshine for Captain Swan, but they push forward TOGETHER and I just LOVE them like crazy!!! From date nights:

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To epic reunion hugs, they are simple the best!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

23) Henry and his ever-growing family – With two kickass  stepdad-figures like Hook and Robin Hood, and two powerful mothers like Regina and Emma, plus the epicness of his father Bae, grandparents including Snow White, Charming, Rumple, and Belle (she’s his step-grandmother and I totally count this!), a possible step-brother (little Roland), and a brand-new uncle (baby Neal), Henry is surrounded by a loving, complicated, all-encompassing family and I LOVE IT!!! He’s has gone from the little unloved boy (well, he felt unloved anyway) to a teenager surrounded by people who love him more than anything and it just makes my heart so happy! This is the dream people!!!

And there you have it my lovelies, my favorite moments from season four! What were your favorite moments, did I miss any on this list? Do you have a favorite OUAT couple or bestie-ship? Let me know!

And don’t forget to check out my favorite moments from season one, two and three!

Thankfulness And A Little Downton Abbey

Happy Thanksgiving my lovelies, I hope you’re having a wonderful, relaxing, and family and friends-filled holiday!!! Today I’m celebrating with a Downton Abbey marathon, which kind of feels like I’m having Thanksgiving at Downton itself (which is a delightful prospect truth be told)! I can only too easily imagine the sumptuous feast Mrs. Patmore and Daisy could prepare…

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

 

But wondrous feasts and impeccable manners aside, there really is so much that I’m thankful for in my life: my family and friends, my characters, their stories, and new exciting and terrifying new prospects on the horizon, just to name a few. But right now I want to say how incredibly thankful I am for each and every one of you. You my lovelies — whether you be old friends or new or even first-time readers — you make my life rich and absolutely wonderful. Your support, friendship, banter, and your own incredible blogs mean the world to me and I am just so thankful for all of you and for all the love and support I receive here at Moonstonemaiden! Thank you so much, you all rock something fierce! (And I’ll make sure to save you a piece of Mrs. Patmore’s delightful pecan pie!) ❤

Happiest of holidays,

— Tara

P.S.

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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!

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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.

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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.

“Fairest” Fairly Soon

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Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Evening my lovelies, I hope all is going well with you and yours 😀 I just wanted to take a minute to announce that I’ve a new mini blog-series on the way that I’m (appropriately) calling “Fairest Of Them All”! This new collection of posts will be the ultimate guide to my favorite fairytale adaptations — both in film and novels — and all my top recommendations for those magical-at-heart lovelies who — like me — just can’t get enough of these wonderful, timeless tales.

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Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Now admittedly, the first post was going to uploaded tonight, but unfortunately… I got sidetracked… by movies. Good movies. And my mother’s new fascination with Candy Crush — which I find highly entertaining. But nevertheless, the first post will DEFINITELY be up tomorrow and I’m thinking it will be a bit…beastly!

And quite possibly beautiful… 😉

See you tomorrow my lovelies!

P.S. I’m actually trying to write it now, truly I am, but the Mummy’s on and there’s so much at stake… Must concentrate. Must not waver. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!

Well, I tried. Sigh. 😀

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

This week the challenge is Trio my lovelies, and I thought, what better trio could I show than this: Glamis Castle, the Scottish home of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the real life home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. (Thank you Wikipedia for that useful bit of historical information because I honestly had no idea what castle this was!)

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Starling

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Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

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! 😀