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The Classical Kingdoms Collection Novellas

I have a list of fairy tales I want to retell. This list is so long it gets kind of ridiculous. Most of those are being saved for full-length novels, but there are some fairy tales that would be difficult to stretch into a longer book. They deserve their own retellings…explorations if you will, but they just don’t quite qualify for 130K word books.

This got me thinking. Would people really want to read shorter fairy tales? I know some authors, like my friend Melanie Cellier, are doing fantastic jobs with their novellas. But what about my readers? Would they be interested in shorter works when I usually write long ones? So I asked, and to my astonishment, my readers said yes!

I’m not sure how often I’ll be putting the novellas out for publication, but they will continue. Since our son is due in September, my goal is to put the first novella (The Green-Eyed Prince: A Retelling of The Frog Prince) up just before he’s born. I’m also working on a new series, The Autumn Fairy Trilogy, and I have plans then for several more fairy tale retellings after the trilogy is done. So there’s no set date planned for the next one, but I do think it will be enjoyable to be able to put out shorter works between the larger ones as I get the time.

If you’ve got any ideas that you’d love to see turned into a novella (or novel), let me know in the comments section! I’m always looking for new ideas, and hearing what you think helps me make my choices in what I write. As always, you guys are awesome! Also, if you haven’t joined my mailing list yet, you should! You’ll get access to the bonus content that I write for all of my books, such as secret chapters and short stories. As always, you can contact me at BrittanyFichterFiction@gmail.com. (Just know that if I don’t contact you back immediately, it is possible that I’m having a baby. I’ll get back to you eventually…lol.)

Behind the Scenes of My Frog Prince Retelling, The Green-Eyed Prince

I’ll admit that I’m excited and nervous about putting out a retelling of The Frog Prince. The Green-Eyed Prince has been a labor of love for several months now, and the goal is to have it published in September (provided my little prince doesn’t decide to make an early entrance).

This story was challenging to write for several reasons. (1) Short stories are hard for me to write. Seriously, I keep getting all these little threads of ideas that would be cool to put in, and sure enough, I’ve soon wound up with something that’s twice as long as what I meant to write. (I have this issue with my novels, too.) So writing a full-fledged love story that was not only believable but intriguing as well took a lot of writing and rewriting.

(2) I write clean love stories in my novels, and I always will. But this story just smacks of underlying inferences. I mean, a frog who wants to sleep in a girl’s bed? I know I’m probably missing quite a bit of the author’s intent just because I’m not from his time period or culture, but the concept of an amphibian that wants to sleep in a young girls’ bed not an easy thing to retell without at least making the protagonist of marriageable age.

In truth, I never really loved either of the characters from The Frog Prince, even as a child. The princess was immature and spoiled, and the frog had the audacity to demand what he demanded. And the king? Let’s just say that my dad would have ended up in jail for animal abuse if some random talking male forest creature had demanded to sleep in my bed as a teenager. So my challenge, I felt, was to discover why these characters were making the choices they did.

Why would the princess so resent the “frog?” even after he kept his end of the bargain? I mean, she was the one that said yes…

Why would the “frog” make those particular demands?

And why the heck would the king allow it?

I will say, because the older nature of the fairy tale in its original form, this story does refer a little more to the marriage bed than most of my other books, but I assure you, everything is kept clean. There was really no way to retell the story without giving the bed some significance. But in the end, I felt like our characters still get their happily ever afters without having compromised their moral standards…despite the odd origins of the story.

P.S. It should be noted that Kartek and Unsu will be appearing again in a future full-length novel…one that might or might not have to do with a street thief, a princess, and a genie in a lamp.

The Classical Kingdoms Collection Novellas

This new series is still written in the world of The Classical Kingdoms Collection. I’ll be posting a more complete article about the particulars of the series, but as it applies to this particular story, I really wanted to explore Queen Kartek after getting to know her in Blinding Beauty.

Since I already have multiple (long) projects in the works for future fairy tales, however, and won’t be touching Hedjet in a full-length novel for a little while, I wanted a place where I could publish fairy tales that weren’t necessarily full-length novels while still exploring the tales themselves. This gave birth to the idea of having a novella series. And thus was born The Green-Eyed Prince.

In Cinderella’s Defense…

I recently a video tonight objecting to Cinderella. I won’t go into the entire thing (because it was reeeeally long), but the premise was that we wouldn’t read our sons a book about “Cinderfella,” a man who allowed his family to abuse him and then waited for a princess to save him. So why would we read our daughters the same story about a woman?

Now, I’m not objecting to this video because I write fairy tale retellings for a living and it’s bad for business. I simply felt I needed to address the video’s objections to the story.

I recently read a book on how to interpret fairy tales called, Tending the Heart of Virtue by Vigen Guroian. Guroian emphasizes the fact that many of the stories we know as fairy tales have lost much in translation. We lack the cultural understanding to really know what the originals meant. A lot of the (admittedly strange) little details are nonsensical to us because we don’t understand the world and language they were written in and for.

I think this holds a lot of truth for Cinderella.

Here’s my take on Cinderella (my favorite fairy tale, btw). Cinderella isn’t about a woman waiting for a man to save her. It’s about enduring cruelty and not growing bitter. It’s about waiting on God’s time when the world feels like it will crush us. It’s about trusting that God will give us our “happily ever afters” even when evil seems like it has won.

Cinderella’s character is kind, generous, and has the heart of someone who gives of herself to others…even those who don’t deserve it. With her actions, she loves those who hate her, and she refuses to give in to hate.

That doesn’t sound like a weak character in the slightest.

If you want to put it in even more perspective for those of us who believe in God, we as the Christian church are the Bride of Christ, aren’t we? Aren’t we waiting for our Bridegroom to rescue us from this darkness? And while we wait, we are to love those around us even when they hurt us. We are to keep the soft hearts of servants, and we’re to trust that God in His goodness has our perfect ending planned for eternity. Our bridegroom will come, and we will rejoice in His presence forever.

Cinderella isn’t about the slipper. It’s not about a helpless woman. It’s about love, self-sacrifice, and faith. Does that make us weak in the eyes of some? Yes. But read 1 Corithians 1:27.

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong”

So yes, I will encourage my daughter to read and enjoy Cinderella. I will teach her to be a strong woman who loves God and others. And I will encourage her never to give in to bitterness, hate, or despair. I will encourage her to be like Cinderella, for those who put their trust in God will truly find their happily ever after.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Fairy Tale Lovers

I know it’s been waaaaay too long since I blogged, but I’ve been busy writing! I wanted to take some time today, however, to suggest some Christmas gift ideas for those fellow fairy tale lovers in your life (or you … if you’re not sure what to do with future gift cards… Mwahahaha!) Let’s face it: some people are just hard to buy for. Sometimes money is tight. You want to give your loved ones the gifts they deserve, but you don’t want to break that bank. I mean, that’s not even healthy for anyone. I’ve come to discover that books are one of my favorite presents. My husband and I have just started buying one another books and B&N gift cards because we would prefer those over the newest electronics. Books are inexpensive compared to the newest electronics, and they’re good for the brain as well as the heart. So this Christmas, I suggest you give someone a book. I suggest you give them one of these…

 

 

 

 

  1. Eleanor and the Iron King – Julie Daines

Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.

Eleanor arrives at the Welsh castle of Bryn Du already expecting the worst. When the ghost of Brac Goch’s first wife appears and warns her that the Welsh king is not to be trusted, all of Eleanor’s fears are confirmed.

As the countdown to her wedding day approaches, Eleanor must figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is loyal, and who is the traitor–and most of all, if she can love an enemy king.

I was captivated by this book. It’s clean, but there are some references to what happens between spouses in a marriage, so if you’re giving this to a younger reader, you might want to read it first. There is also some witchcraft involved, but the witchcraft isn’t glorified, and good must defeat evil. (I don’t read anything else!) For adult readers, however, it’s a beautiful love story full of personal change, hope, and redemption. I ate this book up.

2. Glass Roses: A Victorian Fairy Tale – Britain Soderquist

After Eleanor rescues her stepsister Fanny from an attempted elopement, their father decides to remove the family to the Continent before Fanny’s indiscretion can be discovered. Eleanor finds the opportunity a welcome relief after a disastrous London Season, and is determined to set herself apart from her vain and scheming stepfamily. A chance meeting at a ball earns her the attentions of the handsome Baron Rupert von Schönfeld, a cousin to the Imperial Family of Austria. He is enchanted by Eleanor’s beauty, talent, and kindness, and Eleanor feels certain that she will soon leave her stepfamily behind for good. But Fanny is angry over Eleanor’s interference in her elopement, and gossip is a powerful engine for revenge. As rumors begin to fly, Eleanor’s only comfort is writing about her troubles to her cousin, Isabella.

Isabella, meanwhile, has an adventure of her own to share. Her father has formed a friendship with the surly Duke William of Stirling. His rough manners and intentional slights are irritating, especially to a proper young lady, but Isabella is more than a match with a fiery wit of her own. Then the Duke invites her father to visit his castle in the wilds of the Scottish countryside, and Isabella soon realizes that the Duke’s prickly demeanor hides a kind heart and a mysterious accident from his past. Her heart tells her to let the past rest, but her mind is not ready to give up on discovering the Duke’s secrets, and her curiosity might keep her from the happy ending she desires.

This book is Jane Austin meets Cinderella / Beauty and the Beast. It’s the perfect escape! Britain is a personal friend of mine, but that doesn’t make my opinion of this book biased. I read Glass Roses before it was in its published form and knew immediately that it needed to be made public. The version that now sits on my bookshelf is even better! This fairy tale is perfectly clean in every way while including sweet romance and even some adventure.

3. Ella – Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee

Reserved yet resilient, Ella Blakeley lives with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, without hope of escape—until the day Prince Kenton announces a ball that changes everything. Even without mice, magic, or fairy godmothers, Ella might discover a life that’s better than she ever dreamed. This intricately woven twist on Cinderella is an enchanting book you won’t be able to put down.

This retelling of Cinderella is clean and has one of the most beautiful romances I’ve read to date. I will say that the ending took me a bit by surprise and strayed a bit from the usual Cinderella, but the love story was so heartfelt that I was okay with that.

 

 

 

4. A Spy’s Devotion – Melanie Dickerson

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

I love all of Melanie Dickerson’s work, but this one particularly pulled at my heartstrings. It’s not a fairy tale, per se, but it has the feel of one, and the love is sweet and clean. And there’s a man in uniform … something I have a particular weakness to. 😉 #AirForceWife Anywho, this story has chivalry, romance, and feels like Jane Austin with some pretty awesome action scenes.

5. The Captive Maiden – Melanie Dickerson

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

Again, my love for Melanie Dickerson’s work shows, but this is an actual retelling of Cinderella. Her entire retelling series (The Haigenheim series) brings to life all the beloved fairy tales without the regular use of magic. Rather, magic is a dark force, and faith in God is the only way to defeat it. I chose to recommend the fourth book in the series, however, because I ADORE it. Gisela’s love for horses and Valten’s chivalrous charm just takes a girl’s breath away … and a few hours of productivity. It’s an easy read and a lovely escape.

 

 

6. The Little Selkie – K.M. Shea

Dylan—a selkie—makes a terrible mistake when she brashly chases an evil sea witch onto land. Captured and stripped of her pelt—leaving her unable to return to the sea in her sea lion body—Dylan’s only chance of survival is to serve as the sea witch’s tool. Instead of allowing the sea witch to use her selkie ability to control water, Dylan asks a wandering enchantress to seal her voice, rendering her unable to use her selkie magic. Stranded—with no allies and no way to contact her family—Dylan fears she will never successfully steal her pelt back.

Luckily, Dylan is not alone. She is befriended by Prince Callan, a kind, human prince whose country is being pulverized by the sea witch. Combining the strength of humans and the intelligence of the selkies, the pair unites to save their people.

But when the storm is over will Dylan choose to stay with Callan, or return to the sea and leave him behind…forever?

I’m sure most of you have read K.M. Shea’s books. They’re always playful, fun, and clean! This retelling of The Little Mermaid was adorable and kept me hanging on till the end. As I’m currently working on my own retelling of The Little Mermaid, I found this one of my most enjoyable forms of “research.” (Meaning, I read this book while I ate and tried to put away clean dishes because I literally couldn’t put it down.)

7. Pieces of Jade – Lani Woodland and Melanie Piper

Sentenced to death by the man she loves . . .

Jade has no control over her future. She is the Emmía, the girl whose magical blood keeps her kingdom’s cursed soil fertile and ensures the survival of her people. But her destiny is ruined when pirates take her magical medallion, the loss of which is treasonous, and the prince she loves is honor-bound to sentence her to death.

Forced to flee to the pirate she hates . . .

Jade escapes from prison, but her sister is captured and will die in her place unless Jade returns with the medallion still on the pirates’ ship. In disguise, she joins the pirate crew where she finds herself drawn to the first officer, William, and his claims of the crown’s hidden brutality in the kingdom. But when Jade learns the fate of every Emmía before her, she is finally forced to choose her own destiny: die a martyr or live a rebel.

Again, this isn’t a fairy tale from Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm, but it has all the feel to it that a fairy tale could offer. With self-sacrificing love, sweet chivalry, and a daring girl willing to risk it all for her people, this book is a true gem. I’m dying to get my paws on the second book in the series.

8. Cinders: The Untold Story of Cinderella – Finley Aaron

Everything you’ve been told is wrong.
Oh, not everything, I suppose. Yes, I turned a pumpkin into a coach and mice into horses. The stroke of midnight, the glass slippers, and the prince searching for a girl whose foot fit the shoe…those were all part of the story.
And yet, the prince didn’t just fall in love with Cinderella because she looked good at the ball. Pigeon feathers and pollywogs! Could you respect him if he did?
I most certainly could not.
No, no, there was vastly more that happened before the night of the ball, and a great deal of international intrigue after. Cinderella was a warrior who saved the life of the prince and defended her kingdom from oppressors who were plotting to overthrow the king.
They didn’t tell you that part?
It’s time, past time, for you to know the true story of the real Cinderella.

This is Cinderella with more than a little action! Told from the point of view of the fairy godmother, this book had me hooked. Aside from the gorgeous cover, Cinders offers a Cinderella who can wield a sword, do tricks on horseback, and still make the prince fall head over heals.

9. Through Waters Deep – Sarah Sundin

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

You might not believe it, seeing as I spend much of my time with my head in the clouds, imagining up worlds that could only exist in fairy tales, I love to study American history … particularly World War II. This isn’t a fairy tale, but the love story is so beautiful and clean. The hero and heroine both have battles they must fight, and there’s a delicious mystery that will keep you up at night. Besides, what is there not to love about a man in uniform and a woman who not only keeps up with him but knows how to fight her own battles as well? I would love to have eight more books written about this couple alone, I’m so in love with them.

 

 

There you have it. Whether you’re in need of book suggestions for others or you’re looking for some new reads yourself, I hope this list can help you on your way. Books are one of the best gifts we can give one another. We all need to escape and we all need hope. And every single one of these books will bring you both. Have more suggestions? Please share in the comment section below!

 

Just a Quick Update

Ugh. I feel like I have all of these blog posts in my head that need to actually be put on paper, but typing takes time…time I could be using to write Beauty Beheld! Instead of doing a long post today, I’ve decided to try and give you news-sized bites just to let you know what’s happening behind the scenes.13230281_1576042356059595_1724895104876518421_n

  1. Blinding Beauty is for sale! And by “for sale,” I mean it’s on sale! At 132,000 words, I’ve got the ebook version up at $3.99 for one more week, then it will be moving up to $4.99. It’s also available for purchase in print form for $15.49. And seriously, I wish I could make that cheaper, but it’s so freakin’ thick! A lot more paper has to be used. (which isn’t a bad thing…because it means it’s a longer story!) I want to thank everyone who supported me along the way (especially my beta readers and early reviewers!), as well as everyone who’s purchased the book. I couldn’t do it without you guys!
  2. I’ve just (like, within the last half hour) finished the complete beats outline of the final book in The Becoming Beauty Trilogy, Beauty Beheld! *HAPPY DANCE* I’m shooting to have it published by Fall 2016, but if I can get it out sooner than that, I’d sure be a happy lady, particularly as it looks like we’ll be moving later this year.
  3. I have some short stories I’ll be posting as blog posts sometime soon. They’re not professionally edited, as they’re only rough drafts, but I’m curious to hear what you think of them. My eye is set, however, on retelling some lesser known fairy tales in short story or novella form soon. I’m curious to see what you all think!

As always, you guys rock! You seriously don’t know how many night I’ll read your reviews or letters as I fall asleep. Writing is really hard work, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of being sure your work is terrible and no one will ever want to read it. Your words are so encouraging, and I thank God in my prayers for every one. If you have a question or comment, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at BrittanyFichterFiction@gmail.com. Have a good night!

Blinding Beauty – A Preview

Hey, everyone!

I’m excited to share with you my next book to be published in The Becoming Beauty Trilogy, Blinding Beauty! My designer finished the front cover this week, and I’m just dying to share it.

BLINDING BEAUTY - front JPGfile

My designer’s awesome, right?!

This book will be the second in The Becoming Beauty Trilogy, as well as the second book in the Classical Kingdoms Collection. Blinding Beauty continues Isa and Everard’s stories, picking right up after Before Beauty’s ending. If you’re hungering for another retelling, read on!

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Beauty might have married the Beast, but vows never promised anyone a simple life, least of all the king and queen of Destin.
It has been only four months since their wedding, but Ever and Isa are already being torn apart. Duty to the kingdom keeps Ever occupied, while Isa struggles to master the Fortress’s mysterious fire. So when the young couple is invited to an ally’s betrothal ceremony, they go in hopes of enjoying the honeymoon they never had. Upon arrival, however, something is sorely amiss. A glass hill, an ancient enchanter, and the mysterious tribute paid to Isa’s younger brother, Launce, quickly dash their hopes of rest, and it’s not long before Ever and Isa must fight to protect the Fortress, their neighbors, and even the very love that binds them.
Blinding Beauty, the second book in the Becoming Beauty Trilogy, is a retelling of Cinderlad and the Glass Hill. It is also the second book in the Classical Kingdoms Collection, a series of fairy tales that brings readers to the long lost world of magic and destiny. Rediscover the fairy tales that taught you to wonder as a child.
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If you’re interested in following along as I post my rough draft, you can find my rough draft on Wattpad.com. I’ll also try to post the rough draft chapters on my site here as well. (Although I must warn you, the app I use to post to my website is more than a bit finicky. If you can’t find my chapters when they should be appearing, check out Wattpad instead. I might be having technical difficulties.) I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts. My readers really helped me smooth out my last story, Girl in the Red Hood. I hope to start posting regularly by the beginning of March 2016, but you might find me cheating a bit now and then in February. 😉
As always, please join my newsletter crew if you’re interested in staying updated with my latest writing ventures. I promise not to spam you. I don’t have time for that…I barely have time to eat lunch sometimes. And for those on my email list already, don’t forget that you have access to my secret chapter of Before Beauty, as well as the short story, The Princess and St. George’s Dragon. As always, thanks for reading!