How Grimm Can It Get?

By Tammy Trail

Fairytales. A staple of most childhoods are stories read at bedtime to inspire magic and sweet dreams. But I have researched some of my favorite ones only to find that they did not all have happily-ever-after endings.

The story of Sleeping Beauty is not one that inspires sleeping very soundly at all. It is a romantic tale of magical enchantments given to a child, in addition to a terrible curse hanging over her head. It’s a perfect example of suspense found in the life of a girl who is caught up in a whirlwind of good versus evil. (But let’s not forget the handsome prince who saves the day on his dashing steed.)

Fairytales are first and foremost entertainment. They are also used to teach the listener a lesson or to encourage good behavior. These stories and many others were passed down through generations as folktales told while sitting around a fire, or at bedtime.

Sleeping-Beauty-FeaturedThe original story of Cinderella also has an interesting turn of events. In 1697,  a Frenchman named Charles Perrault wrote down the first tale of Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper for publication. One hundred years later, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm happened upon these old stories and published a collection of tales. However, these German gentlemen didn’t just copy Charles Perrault word for word, but they asked storytellers like nursemaids and nannies to share what they recited before bedtime. These oratory versions would become part of the famous Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

One of my personal favorites is Hans Christian Anderson, born in Denmark in 1805. He started out writing plays, poetry, travelogues, and autobiographies. His fairytales finally got some notice in 1845 when they were translated into English. That’s when the British fell in love with his stories, prompting his friendship with Charles Dickens. Later, he also influenced A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter in their writing endeavors.

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In my opinion, I like Mr. Anderson the best, and I have several favorites by this author. The Princess and the Pea and The Snow Queen were my favorites growing up. (Speaking of The Snow Queen, that story has become very popular in recent years–now known as Frozen.)

As you know, Walt Disney has a way with these stories like no one else. His company has continually turned out versions of these tales, which I think their authors would be proud to see have come to life. Generations of children now learn these stories, along with songs to memorize and enjoy.

One of my favorite television shows to watch when I have the time is “Once Upon a Time.” I love its entertaining plots, twist and turns, and characterizations. I think it has become another example of our beloved fairytales, given new exposure and updates in contemporary dialect.

For me, fairytales were my first introduction to romance. Who could resist a damsel in distress, or the handsome hero who comes to her rescue? I think writing a good romance is a bit like writing your own fairytale, and the best part is that you have control over writing the ending.

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Writing Prompt: Enter for a chance to win in our June Blogaversary!

Which Disney character is your favorite?

photos courtesy of google images

3 Questions Wednesday with Molly Noble Bull

IMG_7768 copy[1]Please welcome Molly Noble Bull, writer of Christian fiction, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Hi, Molly. First question.

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Molly: I cannot say that comic books fortified me as a writer, but I can say that they were very important to me as an elementary and middle school child. Many of the comic books that I read were filled with action, keeping me on the edge of my seat, and the action was illustrated, making the words on the printed page less important than the pictures. Some of the older comic books, like Cowboy Love, were also the forerunners of the future Christian romance novels I wrote as an adult.

As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words. As an author, I see scenes in my mind before writing them as comic-book-like illustrations and as moving pictures.

I am a dyslexic, and I had a hard time learning to read. Spelling was even harder for me and still is. I thank the Lord for the spell-checker.

Two characteristics of some dyslexics are creativity and extreme boredom. I was bored with what was presented to me by my teachers in school, but I had a built-in escape hatch. I simply left the classroom mentally during especially boring classes and explored the exciting worlds of the imagination.358702frontcover

Along with four other Christian writers, I wrote a nonfiction book, telling about my dyslexia titled The Overcomers, Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities. I think The Overcomers would help children with learning disabilities and their parents.

Click here to take at look at The Overcomers and all my books.

http://bit.ly/mollynoblebull

Sounds like a helpful books for all ages.  Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Molly: My interest in singing is no secret to those who knew me in high school and college. I sang solos at weddings and was selected to be a member of the All State of Texas Choir my senior year in high school. I considered a career as a vocalist but decided against it, becoming instead an elementary teacher and later a published novelist. But I still love to sing.

I like to harmonize with Christian singers as I watch and listen to them on TV, and I especially love to sing in private to the Lord during my prayer time.

:) I love to sing also…last question. 

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Molly: If I came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Does “take out” count? How about TV dinners? I don’t like to cook and am not very good at it. But I enjoy taking family member out to a Mexican restaurant. I do love Mexican food.

Thanks for dropping by, Molly! Molly is offering one paperback version of When the Cowboy Rides Away and one paperback version of The Secret Place to two blessed people. Leave a comment to be entered. (U.S. residents only.)

Molly: Now for my newest books: When the Cowboy Rides Away, my Christian western with a touch of romance, and The Secret Place, a historical set in Europe.

cowboy When the Cowboy Rides Away by Molly Noble Bull, http://bit;ly/cowboyrides, is set in South Texas ranch country in 1880.

Maggie Gallagher, twenty-one, runs the Gallagher Ranch in South Texas and has raised her little sister and orphaned nephew since her parents and older sister died. No wonder she can’t find time for romance.

When the Cowboy Rides Away opens two years after Maggie loses her family members. Out for a ride with her sister, she discovers Alex Lancaster, a handsome cowboy, shot and seriously wounded on her land. Kindhearted and a Christian, Maggie nurses him back to health despite all her other chores. How could she know that Alex had a secret that could break her heart?

The Secret Place by Molly Noble Bull is a romantic, historical, adventure story set in SECRET PLACE Front_300 dpiFrance, England and Scotland and was first published under the title Sanctuary.

Sanctuary won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award in the inspirational category and also tied for first place in yet another national contest for published authors that year.

Take a look. http://bit.ly/secretplacebook.

Nineteen-year-old Rachel Levin flees her French village in 1740 with Pierre Dupree, a Huguenot, after both her parents and the young man she loves are killed by a wicked military captain. The captain wants Rachel for his mistress or he wants her dead. Rachel and Pierre agree to a marriage of convenience and manage to escape. But will they reach Scotland as planned? Or will their lives end on an English countryside?    

My next book is an updated version of The Rogue’s Daughter, first published by Zondervan in 1986 and later reprinted by Guideposts.

Had she really stood in front of God and church and minister, and allowed herself to be joined to Seth Matthews for life?

Shortly after her college graduation, Rebecca Roberts found herself with the teaching job she desperately needed and something else that she had been determined never to have—a husband. Seth Matthews, a rugged, independent widower, had hired Rebecca to teach his three children, then married her “to save her reputation.” It was a legal arrangement only, no love involved. Or was it?

Molly Noble Bull is a multi-published Christian author from the ranching country of South Texas where she and her husband live today and where many of her novels are set, and she might be called a Genre Jumper. Molly enjoys writing everything from sweet romances to westerns to adventure stories as well as humor, books for children, scary Christian Gothic historical novels and non-fiction.

Gatehaven, Molly’s Christian Gothic historical, won the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript, and it was published in paperback and as an e-book in 2014.

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Favorite Genres in Literature

hlcs.org

hlcs.org

By Jennifer Hallmark

February is going to be a thought-provoking month for the Writing Prompts blog. We’re going to dig deeply into the subject of Genres in Literature. From romance to suspense and everything in between, we’ll talk about different genres, what we think of them, and our favorite books within the category.

What is a genre? Vocabulary.com says “A literary genre is a style of writing. Your favorite literary genre might be science fiction, for example.

The word genre means “artistic category or style,”…When you use the term literary genre, you make it clear that you’re talking about books and writing. Bookstores sometimes use literary genres as a way to separate books into different sections, like “classics” or “mysteries.” The word genre is French, and it means “kind, sort, or style.”

Here’s a partial list of genres in literature.

Chick Lit
Classic
Comic/Graphic Novel
Contemporary
Crime/Detective
Dystopian/Utopian
Fable
Fairy talenarnia
Fanfiction
Fantasy
Fiction narrative
Folklore
Historical fiction
Horror
Humor
Magical Realism
Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Non-fiction
Science fiction
Suspense/Thriller
Western
Women’s Fiction
Young Adult/New Adult

Ispindle chair try to read a variety of different genres but some of my favorites are women’s fiction (especially southern), mysteries, and fantasy. I just finished a southern fiction book that I loved called The Spindle Chair by Shellie Arnold. I’m also rereading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, probably my favorite fantasy series. And for mystery, the latest book I’ve read is actually a series called Dressed for Death (volumes 1-3) by Darlene Franklin.

What’s your favorite genre? List it in the comments below and tell us your favorite book within the category.

Writing Prompt – Annabella picked up the dust covered book from the floor of the abandoned cabin. She shuddered, dropping the book when she realized it was a copy of…

Remember, each time you answer one of our writing prompts, you’ll be entered in our blogaversary prize drawing coming up in June! fireworks

A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotToday we welcome Sandra Ardoin and her latest release, A Reluctant Melody.

Hi, Sandra! How long have you been writing?

Sandra: I began a community education writing class in 1985. It turned into a writer’s group, and my first publication was in 1986. I wrote small pieces like posters and short stories until 2008 (full-time in 2009) when I believed God had finally given me the go-ahead to write novels. My debut novella, The Yuletide Angel, released in 2014, and my novel, A Reluctant Melody, released this month.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Sandra: It goes back to that permission God gave me to write novels. I’ve always wanted to write romantic mystery/suspense. I worked on two projects at once—one a contemporary romantic mystery and the other an historical set in the 19th century—more a western than my current stories. It was the latter that took off for me. That one will never see the light of day without a great deal of revision, but it showed me how much I love writing historicals set in the latter half of the 1800s. Almost all my stories have some degree of mystery/suspense.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Sandra: In A Reluctant Melody, Kit Barnes (the hero) seeks to establish a ministry to those who want to defeat the lure of an alcoholic lifestyle, as he had done. I looked into the Salvation Army’s work at the time, especially their treatment of alcoholics. I also found information on holistic treatment and, of course, AA. I created his ministry as one that allowed “drunkards,” as they were called at the time, to have a place to stay while they received spiritual and physical help to control their addictions. At that time, many doctors believed in weaning people off alcohol by using other addictive drugs. They thought sudden abstinence was dangerous. Kit used physicians in his work, but believed the emphasis should be on the spiritual and the practical, not in trading one drug for another. Google Books is an important source for me.

I created a town based on the North Carolina town where I live, as well as a neighborhood of Charlotte, so I researched the layout of the areas. I even went to the library to ask the historian about property prices for the day. I also used Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory, which gave me insight into the businesses and the area at the time of my setting.

I researched the making of brooms and watched videos from craftsmen, learning that they did it pretty much as it was done then. While most of our brooms come from countries like Mexico today, it was not an uncommon business at the time of my book.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Sandra: I enjoyed getting to know the characters. I always find a secondary character in books that I want to write or read about. In my novella, The Yuletide Angel, it was Kit Barnes. But the story in A Reluctant Melody actually belongs to the heroine, Joanna Stewart. She has the most to lose and the most dramatic story to tell. I really liked writing her.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Sandra: I’m working on the first book of a three-novel series I hope will be contracted. It’s set in a churchless town in 1880s Texas. This book has a heroine with a checkered past and a hero with a questionable future as a pastor.

I’m also working on a three-novella series. These stories will be more lighthearted in tone and involve three women whose adventurous journeys are waylaid by ♥.

Thanks for dropping by, Sandra!

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

A Reluctant Melody

Kit’s alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now soARM Coverber, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past. 

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life. 

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Getting Back to Basics

By Betty Boyd

 inspirational-life-quotes-for-best-inspirational-life-quotes-2015-14

This is the time of year when we all want new beginnings and a clean slate. But I have a different take on the New Year. I really do not like to make resolutions, but would rather create solutions. I look to the New Year as a way of getting back to basics.

What is most important to me is where I have gone, where I have been, and where I want to be. I like to look back at the past year and see what I learned and still need to learn. God has given me this opportunity to see what changes I still need to make.

Getting back to basics is my theme this year—focusing on what God really wants me to do to serve Him and my fellow man. I want to listen more to His word, so I can live and be the person He intends me to be.

I am working toward having more time for prayer and listening. I am trying to find more time to be quiet, so I can actually hear God’s word. This is a challenging goal, but hopefully I can really put forth the extra effort to achieve it.

Ultimately, God can mold me into what he truly wants for me, and I want to make sure that I am doing my part in getting back to basics and really focusing on Him.

Writing Prompt – Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Can you write a story about new beginnings that includes these four items?

  • Slate
  • Resolutions
  • Learning
  • Focus

 

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Sandra Ardoin

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotPlease welcome Sandra Ardoin, writer of inspirational historical romance, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Hi, Sandra. First question.

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Sandra: I use two writing books over and over: Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon and The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Sometimes, I just can’t come up with the right way to phrase something. I use these books as a springboard to get my creativity pumping.

I like to read fiction that is similar in tone to the book I’m writing. It gets me in a certain mindset. If I’m writing something more dramatic, like my current release, A Reluctant Melody, I don’t want to read a lighthearted book. On occasion, I write in a more lighthearted style and want to read books similar in nature.

–Great suggestions. I also own a copy of  The Emotion Thesaurus. It’s super helpful. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Sandra: Secret? Hmm … I’m a miniature open book when it comes to my talents. :)  I would never call myself an “artiste,” but I’ve enjoyed drawing and doing a little painting in my past. I also like crafts, though I haven’t much time for them anymore.

Writing definitely keeps you busy. Last question…

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

SandraAre you sure you wouldn’t rather go out? My mom loved to cook. Me? Not so much.

Okay, how about pork barbecue, homemade potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, and buttermilk pie? Might as well go the whole Southern route and add a pecan pie to the table. Of course, there would be sweet tea for everyone but my husband. That ’Bama boy likes his unsweetened. Doesn’t that go against a Southern code or something?

No sweet tea? He couldn’t be from Alabama. :) Thanks, Sandra, for dropping by!

Please leave a comment if you’d like to be entered to win a copy of A Reluctant Melody.

A RELUCTANT MELODY ARM Cover

Kit’s alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past. 

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life. 

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Mornings

by Harriet E. Michael

Are you a morning person or a night one? I’m a morning person, so naturally this month’s theme of New Beginnings made me think of morning—the beginning of each new day. I love mornings, they always have a freshness to me as if they hold a secret promise of great things that might happen as the day unfolds.

morning sun

Some years ago as I was researching and writing my book on prayer, I came across so many passages in the scripture where one Bible character or another rises early in the morning to do something God had called them to do that day, or to seek God in some way. Here are some examples, just to list a few:

Abraham rose early the day he planned to offer Isaac as a sacrifice according to Genesis 22:3. He rose early again the day after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and he hurried to a place where he could look down on the cities to see if they had been destroyed or not (Genesis 19:27-28).

Joshua rose early to travel to the Jordan before he crossed over (Joshua 3:1).

David rose early to obey his father Jesse and take supplies to his brothers in battle (1 Samuel 17:20).

God instructed Moses to rise early when he was to stand before Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go (Exodus 8:20).

… and on and on it goes. If you look for this pattern in the scripture, you will find it.

So, what’s the lesson here? Is this bad news for those of us who do not care so much for mornings and need a little time and maybe a cup of coffee before we can even begin to embrace the new day?

coffee

I don’t think so. I don’t think the Biblical point is to love mornings as much as it is to get on with whatever God has for you to do in life. In the Bible times, before electricity, if they were going to apply themselves in whatever action they felt God had asked of them, they’d better not waste any daylight; they’d better get on with it.

Today, doing what God has asked of you may require staying up late instead of rising early. But the point remains–embrace the day! Or rather, embrace what God is calling you to do, and get busy doing it, whether that means getting up early or sleeping late because you stayed up late the night before.

new mercies

Dawn

Me? I prefer getting up early. I love mornings. The scripture has a special blessing for mornings in Lamentations 3:22-23 which tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning, and his compassions never fail.

Writing Prompt – Using the dawn photo, write a short paragraph describing the scene. Remember, each time you answer a prompt, you’ll be entered in our blogaversary prize drawing!