Monday, March 16, 2015

Mom's Need (HOT) Fairy Tales

Most every young girl who sees Disney’s new Cinderella will dream about being a princess.   She’ll wish for balls, beautiful dresses, and a handsome prince.   But what will the mothers dream about?  They know the fairy tale isn’t true – not the way it appears in movies.   They know that marriage to the prince still requires them to do a lot of the same drudge chores they were doing before.  Balls and opportunities to wear beautiful gowns and the desire – or ability – to wear high heels don’t come around often, if at all.

And yet…

We are still captivated by the story, wish for the fantasy, hope for more.   I believe Cinderella has the potential to be a strong heroine, which is why I put her in charge in my novel The Glass Stiletto.  There’s no way a smart woman would agree to another situation where others were in charge of her, so instead of the traditional male dominant story, in this story, Cinderella (now named Mariella) gets to have a say in her future and in how her life will play out, in and out of the bedroom.   

Cinderella is no child – it’s time she enjoyed an adult tale.  With a kinky twist.

There is nothing wrong with the princess myth – it simply needs a chance to grow up, just as all princesses do.   In this third wave of feminist interpretation, we have a wonderful opportunity to embrace all the aspects of that make us feel empowered.   To me, this most especially includes our sexual empowerment.  If the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey showed us anything is that woman are hungry for something that has eluded them for too long.   Detractors may want to label it “mommy porn” and by doing so make less of it, but the truth is, it’s a magnificent part of a woman’s lifelong journey for joy and fulfillment.   

For too long women have not fully embraced their desires – in and out of the bedroom.  We wait for later.  We look for other things to do. We decide it’s not important. We’re wrong.  I believe we deserve our desires. They can define us and guide us in exciting and empowering ways.  They can inform our decisions and bring us a thrill that overflows to all areas of our life. Chances are we won’t have all of them all the time, but that’s what living a full life is for. When I create a heroine in my novel, my goal is to put her on a journey that shows her all she is capable of – joy, passion, success, and more. And then I give her a hero who loves her all the more for being complete. 

After all, if little girls want to be princesses, shouldn’t we show them the type of women those princesses can grow up to be?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five Great Retold Fairy Tale

With one day to go until the release of THE GLASS STILETTO, I thought I would post on the fairy tale retellings that are some of my personal favorites  – which were very hard to choose:

  1. Ever After (movie) with Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston
For many girls and women today, the damsel in distress idea doesn’t go down well.  Drew Barrymore brings to the screen a strong, bright and independent Cinderella who captivates her prince with her wisdom and outwits her stepfamily by being her best self always.

  1. Wicked: The Life and  Times of the Wicked Witch of the West written by Gregory Macguire & Wicked: The Musical
The dark narrative of Gregory Macguire’s book is quite different from the hopeful and ultimately happy story of the musical yet both give us views of two of the worlds most famous witches that are lingering and timeless.  Also, giving the Wicked Witch a first name, Elphaba, and choosing it in a similar manner as how Frank Baum created Oz is particularly wonderful.

  1. The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold, written by Francesca Lia Block
Block knows her fairytales (her Weezie Bat is considered by many to be a modern fairytale) and it is clear in these nine retellings that she loves them as well.  She includes the ever popular Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, but also manages a new tale for Thumbelina and others. She beautifully manages a magical mix of the fairy realm and the contemporary world.  Also look for her “non-fiction” book Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur: A Mythological Dating Guide.  

  1. Once Upon a Time  -and- Grimm, current television series
In Once Upon a Time the characters of fairy tale live under a curse that has trapped them in our non-magical realm. In Grimm an unsuspecting (and really cute!) cop finds he is the last of the line of hunters who kept our world safe from the monsters of what he thought was myth.  In both, our main character have to come to terms with accepting that magic is not as far away as originally thought, and that destiny cannot be denied.

  1. Sydney White (movie) with Amanda Bynes and Sara Paxton
      Okay, this one actually is Disney and a beautiful and funny modern retelling of Snow White.  At college Sydney ends up living in a small house with seven geeks after leaving the rarified air of an elitist sorority and their queen, Rachel Witchburn.  When they managed to get even the poisoned apple into this contemporary tale – I was hooked.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why I Love Fairy Tales

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." - Albert Einstein

I don't believe in arguing with Einstein, and in this case I think he particularly correct. I've loved fairy tales in all their forms before I even knew that's what they were because The Wizard of Oz and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcraker are certainly fairy tales and they captivated me from the first. There is magic in those opening words....

... Once Upon A Time

Each time I read a fairy tale - whether a new one like The Juniper Tree, which I'd never heard of until recently, or enjoy an old one like The Steadfast Tin Soldier, my personal Hans Christian Anderson favorite,  I discover something new.  About the characters, about their journey, and most importantly about myself.

I think this is the reason retellings, from television, movies, books, and musicals, are so popular right now.  They inform us and inspire us while carrying us away to a place where magic exists, good triumphs one way or another, and there is hope.  Hope for success, riches and, of course, happily ever after.

And I believe the fact that we choose tell and retell them so many ways - contemporary, steampunk, or from the villain's point of view - speaks to how timeless and important these stories are.  They are our versions of myths and legends.  We don't need a God of the Sun or the Seasons to explain the world around us, but because we still struggle with right and wrong, love and loss, and making difficult decisions fairy tales help us along on our own journeys.

I've had the pleasure of editing and contributing to five anthologies with retold fairy tales, three erotic and two dark fiction, and it never ceases to amaze me how many ways we can explore these timeless tales. I expect this will be a lifelong love of mine, and judging from media around me - I know I'm in good company.

What are you favorite fairy tales - and your favorite version of them?