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:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

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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.

“Fairest” Fairly Soon

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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. 😀

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

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

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.

Rediscovering Twilight

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The first time I read Twilight (the vampire hit by Stephenie Meyer) I was seventeen and in my senior year of high school. It had been out long enough that the hardback version of New Moon was released and Twilight was already available in paperback, so I figure I was about a year behind publication wise. But it was New Moon that caught my eye as I perused my local Barnes and Noble (aka Heaven) looking for new reads after my birthday. I immediately stopped and stared at the absolutely gorgeous cover: a feathery white and red flower against a inky black background. Simple, yet effective. And sooo pretty. I just had to take a peek. Just to see if it might be worth my time.

The summery was evocative and exciting (for some reason when it said she cut her finger at a party, I automatically thought she cut it cooking at a party and was like: why on earth are you using sharp utensils at a vampire party?!) and I knew this book was destined to be mine…until I saw that it was a sequel. Sigh, defeated by my own neurosis. I admittedly have a thing my lovelies about reading books in order NO MATTER WHAT. I just can’t handle picking up the third or fourth or even the second book first, I’m just not built that way. And I never read the last page first either. Sacrilege. But anyway…New Moon went back on the shelf and I reluctantly picked up Twilight and gave it a look over. The cover wasn’t as pretty. It was gothic-looking and just odd. So was this really the book for me? I looked back at the other cover, so tragic and romantic. That cover was for me, so if I had to read this book to get to that one then so be it. I promptly bought the book and went along on my merry way none the wiser that I had just purchased one of those life-altering books we all dream about as avid readers.

Skip forward a few days until I actually start reading the book and within a few pages I’m hooked! Screw the pretty flower-covered book, this was my kind of story! Impossible romance, thrilling danger, paranormal themes of a non-scary nature, and a sparkly love interest! Where the hell had this book been all my life?! You know how much I love sparklies my lovelies, it’s a weakness, I can’t help it! Edward was perfection itself and Bella was so adorably relatable, I couldn’t help but love them both. And Charlie. And the Cullen family. I read every spare minute I could find, even going so far as to read during class, which is about as close to teenage rebellion as I ever got. It was like riding a feels roller-coaster. I was on an emotional high for three days, loving every second of it and prepping my mom for reading it next — she very quickly fell in love with the book as well and Edward in particular.

Twilight was a beacon of happiness and possibility for me at a time when I was stressed out with college applications, writing endless scholarship essays, and knowing that every day that passed was one day closer to me leaving my family for college. It gave me something to look forward to and was something my mom and I bonded over book-wise. Twilight was my second Harry Potter experience. It was something I latched onto and wouldn’t let go of for anything. I picked up countless vampire novels afterward, so thrilled to have some new reading area opened up to me, and when I finally did go away to FSU, Twilight started many a conversation in class and instantly bonded complete strangers with their love of Edward and this poignant love story. Life as a Twi-hard was fantastic.

Until the first movie premiered.

As soon as I discovered a movie was in the works — which was early on because the author’s website was a daily stopping point for me — I was uncontrollably excited. I eagerly waited for every new piece of casting information and interview tidbit and very quickly became addicted to IMDb — the king of all movie information websites. Needless to say, when tickets went onsale, I ordered mine online (which was still a new kind of thing at the time) and a group of friends and I arrived at the theater opening night breathless with anticipation. I settled into my seat, the lights dimmed, and I waited for Edward to appear. And sadly, he did appear — to the applause from the entire theater no less — but he so clearly wasn’t Edward. Or at least, not the Edward I knew.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The smooth, velvet-voiced and mercurial-tempered Edward Cullen was now a rude, I-hate-my-life, depressed teenage boy. And Bella was just as bad. Where were her constant smiles and cute awkwardness? Where was his ability to dazzle every woman in a ten-foot radius, and his love of arguing playfully just to get a rise and blush out of Bella? Everything was so sharp, every sentence they spoke to one-another cutting instead of sparring and sweet. And their intimate getting-to-know-you moments (blood testing in Bio anyone) were completely destroyed, rewritten into laughable, hard-to-watch needless drama (I know what you are. Say it…out loud. Vampire.). No…just no. It didn’t work and I left the theater vaguely disappointed but unsure why that was or how it could possibly be. I was supposed to love everything Twilight, so why didn’t I love this? Something was definitely wrong in my Twilight universe.

Things only got worse when the second movie was released. Presented with a down-right depressing and condescending Edward that I just couldn’t stand, I switched teams, becoming a Jacob fan. And let me tell you that caused MOUNTIANS of drama at home when I said as much to my mother. Other friends of mine came home from college with completely new religious beliefs but I came home a Jacob fan and a feminist, what the hell had happened?! My love affair with Twilight was flickering, the movies completely blurred the books for me until I was just too annoyed to reread them because I couldn’t handle getting aggravated by Edward all over again. I couldn’t see my book Edward anymore, only the representation on the T.V. screen. And for more personal reasons, I was discovering I didn’t like controlling men, and Edward definitely had control issues.

By the time the fourth and final book arrived, I was a die-hard Jacob fan and totally enraged at the cop-out that was Renesmee Cullen. I can handle Jacob not getting the girl and all because lets be honest, we all knew he wasn’t going to get the girl, but it was like the author didn’t have the guts to give Jacob an unsatisfactory ending and created this whole new love interest out of frenzied desperation. Think about it, how awkward is it going to be to tell your future love that you had a MASSIVE thing for her mother back in the day, but hey, you know, you’re great too. I’m totally not settling for second best here or anything. Sigh, she was cute in the movie and all, but really just let Jacob go off with Leah and Seth and start a new life slightly disappointed but free to live his own epic love story in the future. But no, you had to shackle him to the kid of his almost-true love and call that acceptable. Nope. Not for me.

Grrr.

So why bring all this up with you now my lovelies? Legitimate question. Well after years of not reading the books and only watching the movies when I had to, I got the random urge to try the books again. Perhaps it was because of all the tenth anniversary hoopla I saw online, but I decided to at least give them another try, just to see if anything was salvageable from my former Twilight ardor. I started reading this past week, forcing myself to put aside all my anger and annoyance which flared to life every now and then when a book scene and the movie scene merged together in my head. Thankfully, this happened only a handful of times.

So what did I find? Was the book everything it was originally? Well yes and no. Yes, in the fact that it was a sweet, teenaged love story and that Edward was once again the boy I vaguely remembered at this point. And although I still had to remind myself to not instantly dislike him, I could see the vampire I fell in fictional-love with again. And Bella was so much happier than she ever is in the movie versions. It was nice, like a cute little memory newly rediscovered. But it also wasn’t the epic drama I thought it was at seventeen. I could now see the somewhat laughable nature of it when they basically fall in insta-love and some of the more creepier aspects of their relationship. But that’s more me growing into an adult than any fault of the book I think. And yes, the writing was not the brilliant prose I remembered, but it wasn’t horrible either. There were definitely way too many descriptions of Edward’s beauty and his likeness to an angel, but you know, in the end, it’s a book for TEENAGERS, it doesn’t have to be perfect, especially for an adult reader. I can appreciate it for what it gave me all those years ago and for the cute story it is to me now. And actually there were some segments of writing that are downright lovely. And I didn’t completely hate Edward! So I count that as a win.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

All that being said, I’m starting New Moon now, so we’ll see how long my new-found Edward acceptance really lasts. I was actually thankful that Jacob wasn’t a major presence in the first book, it gave me time to remember Edward and why I liked him, but we all know New Moon is Jacob’s book, so we’ll see how it goes. 😉 In the end I’m really happy that I gave this book another try, it opened back up a world that I once loved. And even though I can’t fully fall back into that ever-green Forks-centered world, it’s nice to visit again and see some long-lost friends and places. And as tempted as I am to re-watch the movies now to see if I have the same success, I’m going to wait until I finish reading the books, just in case movie-Edward pisses me off again. Though I really love all the movies except the first one, the rest are wonderful for the most part, but I just don’t want to risk movie-Edward ruining all my progress here!

What about you my lovelies, have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite book/character/or series? Did you ever try to revisit them again? What books have changed your life? Be sure to let me know and happy reading my lovelies!

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Thirteen

If you need a refresher course on the Ratha James series here on Moonstonemaiden, go ahead and click here to catch up on all the piratical adventures of this amazing woman and her steadfast friends!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Thirteen

The sun was setting in a blaze of citrine and ruby light into the churning cobalt sea beyond the massive diamond-paned windows when Ratha finally stepped into the glorious St. Clare library. Maddie, Joona, and an unusually weary-looking Eric sat near the warmth and light of a crackling fireplace on the far side of the room, soft conversation enveloping them with the love of longstanding friendship. Each looked up when the door opened, their words halting as Ratha strode towards them, a scowl tugging her lips downward and darkening her bright eyes. Eric St. Clare rose from his seat and moved to meet her with a warm smile, pulling her to him in a brotherly hug that squeezed what little breath she had left from her lungs. Even after all this time, he worried for her safety and to see her and Madeline alive again and home brought him such fierce joy. When he finally released her it was only to lead her to an overlarge chair beside Maddie and to fetch her a glass of port.

Doing her best not to wheeze, Ratha sank into the chair with relief, breathing in as deeply as she could manage in her borrowed gown. She accepted the port with a small smile and took a deep drink, letting the liquid burn it’s way down her throat to her belly, warming her from the inside out. In brilliant contrast to the jagged fire inside her, the crystal goblet was cool and perfectly smooth in her rough, weathered hands. She bit back a rye smile at the sight of her scarred hands holding something so perfect and fragile before setting the goblet down with a decisive clink. Looking back at those before her, she leveled a pointed glare at the red-haired woman sitting before her, her brows arching questioningly.

“Well Joona St. Clare,” she huffed, gesturing down to the emerald gown in disgust. “Why am I in this monstrosity?”

“I think you look lovely Amalee,” Maddie offered with a grin, running an appreciative hand over her own rose pink gown with unabashed pleasure. The sea had yet to take Madeline’s enjoyment of beautiful things and Ratha doubted it ever could. Madeline was born to see beauty in a cruel, sparkling world.

“That’s not the point,” Ratha said with a wave of her hand and a ghost of a smile at her friend’s deserved happiness. But her eyes never left Joona’s. Some new secret lurked beneath their sharp green surface, churning in the depths where love and intellect normally resided. Ratha’s heart beat a little faster. “What is it Joona, what haven’t you told us?”

“There’s a merchant ship moored in our shipyard,” Joona admitted, her mouth a slight grimace. “You’ll have seen it no doubt as you came into port.”

“Yes,” Amalee nodded, thinking back to the ship bearing the garish orange and silver flags with entwined songbirds that had given her pause before she had arrived. A matching grimace turned her mouth downward as well, settling into port with strange ships and crews so close by was never something she enjoyed, but the bulk of the St. Clare’s fortune was made on the seas and ships came and went through their shipyard far too often for it to frighten her away. The vessels never stayed long, and the crews were kept bust unloading a foreign cargo or loading a new one bound for some exotic destination before settling sail on the next earliest tide. Her women had strict orders to stay well clear of the St. Clare shipyard and the men who worked them and the sailors who passed through them. Their names and faces did not need to become known. But her women knew this well and St. Clare had never before felt the need to draw her aside just to mention a ship. Her stomach tightened into a thick fist. “Is it dangerous?”

“No,” Joona said slowly. “But there was a storm at sea some weeks ago and the vessel was badly damaged, the hull breached and a mast snapped in two. The repairs will take some days and in that time the crew will work and sleep aboard their own ship. They will not be a danger to you and yours so long as your women remain out of their way and in their sight. But unfortunately…”

“But unfortunately what?” Ratha demanded, her heart beating so fiercely that sure it would explode out of the confines of her blasted gown at any moment.

“Unfortunately, you have already been noticed. Or rather your beauty has. It seems the Captain was quite intrigued with a certain person, and asked Eric just who the exquisite brunette was wearing men’s trousers and boots as though she was born in them.”

Ratha’s face paled. How on earth did a sailor recognize her as a woman from such a distance, especially with her long hair — her most telling feature — tied up and out of her face?! “What did you tell them?”

Joona held her friend’s gaze, the very air tense with unspoken possibilities before her lips curved upward. “That you were my cousin of course. Fresh from Ireland with a few companions and on the hunt for an English husband to rival my own.”

Musical Fate

Hello again my lovelies! I stumbled across a new song that I’ve fallen in love with over the past week and I thought I’d share it with you, but before I do let me just ask (for my fellow writers out there), have you ever found a song that just speaks to one of your characters so perfectly it’s kind of scary? Or even just fit a scene or emotion just spot-on and it thrills you but at the same time scares the crap out of you that there are others out there who must think like you (how else would they come us with these amazing songs? I mean they clearly must write them only for the sake of our characters right)? I have this happen often enough, I think my characters love music just as much as I do and they all have pretty specific tastes, and I like to think of it as musical fate.

I love discovering these wonderful songs, but once I do I tend to avoid watching the music videos because I don’t want to be influenced by what I’m seeing onscreen and because I already have my own video playing to these songs inside my head and there’s no way the recording artist has made a more moving video that what my characters are showing me at the moment. Now there are some exceptions to this rule, sometimes I see the video first (like in this case), but very, very rarely does something in the video match up to what I’m thinking.  In the case of my newest musical fate finding, I watched the video purely because Colin O’Donoghue (Hook from Once Upon a Time) was in it and really, need I say more? I was shocked to discover that not only did the song itself seem like it was something to be spoken aloud by my one of my female protagonists in a future WIP, but the video had small things in it that hinted at the story I had in my head, especially the flowers! It took my breath away!

So as a believer in fate and magic I have become firmly attached to this song by Christina Perri and it’s beautiful video, so take a moment if you will and just listen to the words of a hopeful young woman trying to breakthrough to a heartbroken man who’s trying his best not to fall in love again, but failing miserably (at least in my story anyway lol!)

So what do you think, it’s lovely right? Have you ever found a song or video that captures a small moment you have written or plan on writing? Isn’t it amazing and frightening, this little touch of fate?

The Water Maiden

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, Elesain 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 😀

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Eight

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Eight

It was that day that two of the Irish brides escaped their husbands and fled to the only place they could think of: St. Clare manor. Each had been there a handful of times in their youth and knew that it was close to the sea, some miles from London. Convinced that their third friend must have been treated as badly as they, Maddie and Amalee forced themselves to keep going when their tired bodies wanted to stop, to rest. It took two days to reach the manor, and each girl knew the horror that could be inflicted in just two days, and prayed that they were not too late. It was to their great surprise when, in the pitch blackness they found their way to the manor door and discovered that the lady of the house was in and doing well. Being filthy and strangers, the friends were left to wait outside until Joona came to the door to inspect the two travelers who pleaded an audience with her.

Upon discovering her friends, Joona threw wide the door and pulled them into a private sitting room where Amalee and Madeline rushed to tell their stories and to plead for their friend to join them in escaping their English husbands. It was not until Amalee had finished outlining her idea of stealing inside a ship dressed as men that she noticed her friend’s swelling stomach and the smooth paleness of Joona’s face, unmarred by bruises or hidden beneath powder. She reached a hesitant hand out to settle atop the firm swell and was surprised to feel the strong kick of a baby settling inside its mother.

“You have done what we could not,” she whispered reverently, thinking that she too should be this swollen and would be if not for Derek’s temper.