The Magic of Fairy Tale Retellings

Source: Pixabay

I’ve been thinking a bit about why we love fairy tale romances. The classics tend to have that same general vibe. Girl meets boy, obstacle appears, boy and girl overcome obstacle and they live happily ever after.

At least, the fairy tales that seem to stand the test of time seem to have that rhythm. From Snow White to Cinderella, to Sleeping Beauty to Beauty and the Beast to Rapunzel. They all give you that instant love and happy ever after.

Interestingly, the classic tales tend to be short and look primarily at the obstacles. The falling in love part is kind of glossed over. You sort of have to make it up in your head why the couple fell in love. What do they see in each other that makes them happy with each other? The key part is that you know they end up HEA, so something really awesome must have happened to connect them.

I think that’s one reason fairy tale retellings are popular. Because the original tales gave so little character development and reason behind these great love stories, it’s fun to make up the why behind what was happening.

I remember when I was writing The Princess, the Pea, and the Night of Passion , that I had to really think about what that story would entail because the original had so few details. There was little to be said about the prince and princess involved in the original. The key obstacle–the queen who was determined that only bloodlines and titles mattered–was the primary focus. And then as you look at the story, you realize just how boorish this princess is. What person of any manners or breeding complains incessantly about the room their host provided them? The story only works if this princess is the worst type of princess ever–rude to the point of insulting another sovereign’s accommodations.

Yet, we totally remember the tale, because this real princess and the prince do marry and live HEA. All because she’s a complainer. The real marriage that would have been would likely have been miserable:

Prince: How is breakfast?

Princess: The porridge was too hot, the coffee is too cold, my tooth hurts, and there’s a stain on the table cloth.

Yeah, not fun. Though the fairy tale tells us it all works out. Because maybe the two are just perfect.

Prince: Yeah, same here. We should get better servants. We’re too good for a garbage breakfast like this.

Princess: Indeed we are.

And though perfect, that wouldn’t have been kind of miserable as a reader. I enjoyed creating characters who were likable in my version of the Princess and the Pea. I loved Adara and her story of running from a life where she felt trapped. The idea that she wasn’t dressed like a princess because she was incognito due to being on the run seemed the perfect segue into this framework of the original tale.

I also had fun actually having the prince and the princess get to know each other, both as people and in a more intimate fashion. And having the Queen overhear the princess’ “complaints” rather than having the rudest princess on the planet was a lot more fun, too.

So, what’s been a favorite fairy tale retelling you’ve seen? And what did you like about it? Share in the comments.

The Bad Fit Guy

One of the interesting things that we sometimes see in the beginning of some romance novels is the bad romantic partner. He’s the guy who doesn’t appreciate the heroine. He doesn’t get her, often treats her bad, and she, at some point, realizes that he’s not the one.

Source: Pixabay

Sometimes she has to meet our hero to see that the bad guy is, in fact, a bad guy. Sometimes she realizes it on her own, after she’s had enough of his poor treatment. There is some last straw event where she just says: I’m out.

These feel cliche, and maybe they are a little bit, but the truth is, the bad guy is sometimes needed. Sometimes, it takes having someone treat you in a way that you don’t want to be treated, to realize just how much that doesn’t work. While I don’t advocate hooking up with a bad dude to get that experience, I do think it can sometimes provide the clarity that’s needed to realize what you want.

It’s sort of like when you take a job, think it might be a good fit, and it goes OK. And you do it for a while and think it’s fine, but then you see the cracks–the crazy hours, the toxic boss–and realize you have to get out. That you never want to work at a place like this again. And while the experience isn’t great, you learn from it what you don’t want. You learn to see warning signs–things you missed when you signed on for this job. And when you moved forward, you find a job that is a better fit. Something that is more in the sweetspot of what you want and are a good fit with.

Certainly, I wouldn’t wish a bad relationship on anyone. If you find a good one from the getgo, or continually get good ones, kudos. But, for those who got a bad apple, don’t worry. It’s typically a good learning experience. [And bad apple is different from psycho or abusive stalker type. No one should have to go through that.]

I think some of the best heroines are those who’ve come through the fire of bad guys, and know they’re worth more. And then they find it. A lot of the heroines of my fairy tales are more relationship novices. But, I have to say that one thing I like about Nikki (from the short Nikki and Mike) –as well as Tina, from Winner Takes All–is that they’ve seen the bad guys and know they don’t want them. They start with that notion that they’re worth more than half-assed, and their confidence grows. And then they start to visualize what they want and grab it. And that’s a good thing. That’s something I want for all the folks out there.

The Funny Way Fictional Romance Diverges From Real Life

In my regular life, I happen to work in a field where I come across a lot of random press releases and news stories. I saw one the other day that made me think about the ways that romances seem to differ from real life.

The study found that in real life, women use ex girlfriends as a shortcut to judge the fitness of a potential mate. If his exes seem normal, attractive, and still get along with him, it’s a sign he’s a good mate candidate. If those stars don’t align, it’s time to head for the hills. Or so says the researcher. (You can read about it here: https://www.miragenews.com/track-record-predicts-future-romance-554422/)

This made me think of some of romances in general, and how heroines almost never follow this rule. They find men they can change, or they don’t ask questions about past romances, or they discount all those other women because they’re the one who he was meant to be with and the past doesn’t matter.

It’s inane for real life. I mean, really, looking at a guy who has left a string of broken hearts–or worse, a guy who can never seem to get close to anyone–is probably asking for trouble.

But that’s the thing that’s so great about romance. Even though our rational brain is telling us, this has no reason to work out, the story is so compelling and so immersive that it all makes sense. The brooding and deep seated trauma of childhood make our hero better–not totally f***d up and in need of years of therapy, as would be in real life.

And of course, I’m not saying that all romances of fiction lack reality. Many are normal characters who make normal mistakes and have serendipitous love. But, there’s also a whole bunch that would be doomed to failure were there not a deft author pulling strings from above.

When you read romance, what do you prefer–romance that veers toward real life, or romance that’s more fantasy land?

When Romances Get a Boost by Pop Culture

The Bridgerton phenomenon on Netflix helped Julia Quinn’s wonderful romance series find renewed life, which is wonderful. I read all 8 books of the original series, plus three books in the spinoff series (I got them from the library, which didn’t have the fourth book, and I got busy and forgot about it until just this moment, so I’ll see if the library picked it up or just go out and purchase it).

Another romance writer is getting an unexpected boon from her other endeavors. Georgia voting rights activist and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is getting three of her romance novels reissued. Abrams wrote the novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery in the early 2000s. Back in November, when Abrams was lauded for her work to help get Joe Biden elected, there were several memes going around letting folks know that Abrams also wrote romance novels.

I suspect this created the resurgence in interest in the books that has led her publisher to reissue them. Whatever the reason, I say, kudos.

I love it when romance books get a boost. I picked up two of the books in the series back in December and enjoyed them. Abrams had an easy style and spun an, ultimately, satisfying yarn. I’m glad others will get a chance to read them or consider picking them up.

There’s a lot of great romance novels out there, and it’s wonderful when some get more exposure so that fans can check them out and discover their next great read.

So, if you could decide which romance novel got some extra love and attention, what would you pick? Share in the comments.

The lovers, the dreamers … and the Trysts Connection

The other day I was telling someone about Winner Takes All, and they asked me if I was going to do a series with it, and I said, well, it’s already loosely part of a series. Then it occurred to me, I hadn’t quite made that clear.

The Romance: Trysts series is four short stories that are seemingly disparate, but the people in each story share at least one connection with someone in another story. For example, the Mrs. Sinn character in Dr. Carter and Mrs. Sinn [FREE] is the friend who tells Blair about the painting in Tristan & Blair. The connections are pretty loose, but I’ve known they were there, and thought I’d like to do longer pieces in the same universe and better connect the dots.

Winner Takes All is the first book in that wider universe. In Winner Takes All, you see Nikki and Mike from the second Trysts story. It’s fun that we get to see more of Nikki in this book (as the short is Nikki’s story), and more of course the main character in Winner Takes All is Tina, Nikki’s best friend.

So, if you’ve read Nikki & Mike and want a tad more, definitely check out Winner Takes All. If you’ve read Winner Takes All and are curious about the other tale, definitely check out Nikki & Mike.

As for other tales in the original trysts series, my next is to delve into Tristan & Blair‘s universe, looking at Blair’s sister, and of course, we’d see Tristan and Blair as well. I don’t know when I’m going to get to this. I have another in the fairy tales series that I need to complete, and so I need to figure out where to focus my energy.

If you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see next (Red Rider, based on a Little Red Riding Hood/Robin Hood hybrid) or the Tristan/Blair universe, let me know.

Take care.

Rosetta B.

Are you still finding romance?

We’ve been in this pandemic for more than six months now. I’m tired of it, to be honest. I’m tired of all the restrictions, but I know I need to do them for safety.

The one thing that hasn’t been restricted though, is entertainment. No, we can’t go to the movies, but we can read great books and watch wonderful films in home.

Have you found yourself, as things have continued to get worse through the pandemic, able to find joy in some of these small pleasures? Have you enjoyed a good romance novel or a great romantic film?

I’ve found I have been able to escape in watching and reading, but less so in writing. My productivity has been down. It’s taking forever to finish two projects I started ages ago.

I think people want escape–I know I do. Are you escaping into romance? If so what are you watching or reading? Share in the comments.

Consolidating in the time of coronavirus

I hope you all are well. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted a blog. How time flies.

I just wanted to check in and briefly mention that I am making some changes to where my books are sold. Specifically, with the exception of perma-free books (Dr. Carter & Mrs. Sinn; The Princess, the Pea, and the Night of Passion), all of my titles are being taken off other sites and will be sold exclusively on Amazon.

My books had been Amazon exclusives and part of the Kindle Unlimited program when I first started writing. However, after a year or so, I decided I wanted to spread my wings and see how the titles did at other retailers. While readers on other retailers did find my books, the bulk of my sales remained on Amazon.

With the growing financial meltdown caused by all the shutdowns to stop coronavirus, I decided to go back into Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Amazon exclusivity. I know in my own household, we’ve been cutting expenses and enjoying our subscription services more. I expect more people will do that, and the books will see more reads in Kindle Unlimited. Especially as people have less free money to buy individual books.

To be in KU, your book can’t be sold on any other platform. This weekend, I’ve started the process of unpublishing my books on all the other retailers. Once that’s complete, I’ll enroll them in KU. Some retailers are slower than others to remove books, so I anticipate everything will be de-listed by Wednesday or Thursday and I’ll be able to enroll in KU by next weekend.

I hope everyone is coping well. The social distancing and other lockdown measures have been mentally challenging. We’re social beings, so these measures are hard. The good news is, we’ve made it thus far, and we just have to keep our heads up and keep plowing forward.

Stay well.

-RB

 

Beauty & Her Beastly Love is Featured on Book Doggy Today!

Beauty & Her Beastly Love is being featured on the ebook discount site BookDoggy today.

If you haven’t heard of BookDoggy, they’re a great site that sends great discounted books to your email every day.t You can find out more about BookDoggy here: https://bookdoggy.com.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Beauty and Her Beastly Love will be on sale for 99 cents through Sunday. Here are all the places you can find it.

AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo –  iTunesGoogle Play

Also, the next book in the series, Cinders & Ash, is on sale, as well, down to 2.99 from 3.99.  You can find that book here: AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiTunesGoogle Play

 

Two Fairy Tales Go Wide, and on Sale

Happy Monday to you! I hope you had a great weekend.

Here, we’re coming off of Spring Break and my children were home all week, so it has been a bit of a struggle to get back into the hang of things, but we’ll muddle through.

I just wanted to give you a heads up that two of the fairy tales in my Passion-Filled Fairy Tales series are now available at multiple retailers. I decided to take them wide after there were some problems with how romance books were being categorized over at Amazon. I’m going to see how things go at other retailers, and then after a couple of months evaluate how things are going.

To celebrate the wide release, I’ve scheduled a brief discount period. Beauty and Her Beastly Love will be 99 cents, April 10-14 (it’s already 99 cents at some retailers, so feel free to check today). Cinders & Ash: A Cinderella Story will drop from $3.99 to $2.99 over the same time period.

The latter books in the series are committed to Amazon exclusivity until May, so I won’t be able to move those books wide until later.

So, without any further ado, here are the links for the books at other retailers (note: I should have Apple and Barnes & Noble links by the end of the week.).

Beauty & Her Beastly Love
Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Playster, ScribD

Cinders & Ash: A Cinderella Story
Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Playster, ScribD

 

Diamonds & Hearts Goes Wide

Yikes, it’s been ages since I’ve written a blog post.  So sorry.  I’ve been busy writing and haven’t spent time on the blog. I’m working diligently on two new titles and I’m hoping to get them published in April and May. So I probably won’t do a ton of blogging until those two novels are in final edits.

I did want to stop in and mention that Diamonds & Hearts is available at multiple retailers now. It had previously only been available on Amazon. It’s now available at all the big retailers. I also revamped the blurb for the book a little. If you haven’t grabbed it because you prefer retailers other than Amazon, go ahead and check it out.  Here are the retailers where it’s available:

iTunes –  Barnes & Noble  – KoboAmazonGoogle PlayPlayster – ScribD

Diamonds & Hearts Blurb:

Diamonds are pieces of charcoal that handle stress exceptionally well. -unknown

ONYX
I know I’m damaged. I don’t want to admit it, not to myself. But in the deepest darkest places, I know it’s true. My work, as a schoolteacher helps me forget my father the criminal, who spent my formative years heisting jewels. It helps me feel I’m making a difference and putting some good into the world, instead of what I used to do, instead of what my father did.

But, when I need cash to help my brother cover a medical treatment, there’s only one place I know to turn: other damaged people. My father’s old friend Pauly, who can get me some less-than-legal, but well-paying jobs. It’s a step back, but the only option I have.

RYAN

I’m completely messed up, and I know it. My life has spiraled. My sister died a year ago and I just don’t know how to cope. I’ve done everything wrong since then, and now it’s time to the pay the piper. Or, to be more accurate, the Pauly, a mob boss, I owe big.

I’m expecting a beating, but instead, I run into a friend of my sister’s, Onyx. When Pauly realizes I know her, he tells me I can get out from under this debt IF I just convince her to do a job. Oh, and I have to go with her, too.

Before, being sent away with a gorgeous woman like Onyx would have been just what I wanted. Only, something about her unsettles me. She gets under my skin. In a way no other woman has.

—-
In this sexy romance, two damaged souls find more than they expected when their fates intertwine.