We all grew up with fairytales, whether it was as bedtime stories or watching the Disney versions, we are all familiar with the classics. Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, each story comes from a different source dating back centuries. You may be familiar with the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, but did you know that the oldest fairytale in the world, The Smith and the Devil, is said to be nearly 7000 years old! In that time it was been translated into 35 different languages, travelling from Asia Minor to across Europe.
The story tells of a Smith who makes a bargain with the devil, but when the time comes to pay up, he traps the devil in an immovable object and is freed from his bargain.
Stories have the power to connect us and fairytales are ingrained in us from a young age. Over time, fairytales have changed, parts have been added, some have been removed, but ultimately they contain a message for the audience - be careful what you wish for, don't stray from the path.
This month we will be looking at the classics, the writers of fairytales and we will hear from authors who have written fairytale retellings. What is your favourite fairytale? Let us know by commenting below.
Welcome to the Once Upon A Fairytale Blog Event! The event will run throughout the month of April and will feature interviews, guest posts and story excerpts from some top indie authors. If you love fairytale retellings, then this is the event for you!
Dark retelllings, twists on the original stories and more await you. Check out our calendar of events below and be sure to share the event with friends.
Out of the Blue
Black and Blues
Stephanie Rose Bird
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: One Odd Bird Press
Date of Publication: March 22, 2020
Word Count: 58,500 words
Formats available: E-Book and Paperback
Cover Artist: Najla Qamber Designs and Qamber Kids
Tagline: Out of the Blue is a young-adult, coming-of-age novel that seamlessly bridges elements of African American folklore and spirituality with Greek mythology.
When two worlds collide, only one girl can unravel the mythical threads and save her father’s life. . .
Mobile, Alabama, 1947
Bobby “The Shrimp Man” Daniels, a blues singer and shrimper from Mobile, lies unconscious in a hospital bed, suffering from a mysterious illness. His daughter Tina, a sheltered sixteen year old, torn between her love for her father, and her disappointment in his relationship with Kyane, his much younger mistress, is determined to heal her father, no matter the cost.
Kyane isn’t just a mistress, she’s a Siren, obsessed with her overwhelming desire to become human and merge her otherworldly singing voice with Bobby’s incredible music. She’ll do anything to get what she wants, annihilating anything, and anyone who stands in her way.
In order to save her father, Tina will have to travel to the Kyane’s world, a world of strange and magical creatures, and figure out how to wrestle his soul from the Siren’s control. As Tina’s magical journey twists and turns, she’ll learn what it means to be a woman and what it means to save not only her father, but herself.
Out of the Blue is a young-adult, coming-of-age novel that seamlessly bridges elements of African American folklore and spirituality and Greek mythology.
Amazon One Odd Bird Press
About the Author:
Stephanie Rose Bird is the author of the critically acclaimed and award-winning, “Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs.” Her other books include: “365 Days of Hoodoo,” and “Four Seasons of Mojo,” all three were published by Llewellyn Worldwide. Bird also contributes to Llewellyn Spell-a-Day,” “Llewellyn Herbal Almanac” and “Llewellyn Magical Almanac.” She is the author of: “Earth Mama Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss” (Green Magic Publishing), “A Healing Grove” (Lawrence Hill Books), “The Big Book of Soul,” (Red Wheel Weiser/Hampton Roads Publishers) and “Light, Bright and Damned Near White: Biracial and Triracial Culture in America and Beyond.” (ABC-Clio).
She is a novelist, published by One Odd Bird Press, in the Young Adult Fantasy and Magical Realism genres. “Out of the Blue” is her debut novel in the Black and Blues Series. One Odd Bird Press will also publish “Pine Barren Blues.” She writes and paints where she lives (Chicagoland) with her husband, near her children, and along with some very busy animal friends.
It was supposed to be a vacation, the trip to a newly discovered tomb of Jesus…
When Sabina Ferrara was driving to Bingerbruck, Germany, she was hoping to put a painful marriage behind her. Certain unforeseen events turned against her and during a visit to Christ’s tomb, she is meeting Thomas von Essen – a dangerous thief, who is hiding behind the name of a decent family, pretending that he is a famous archaeologist. Against her will, Sabina is dragged into the middle of the stealing of biblical artefacts, killings and shootings. She ended up attracting the attention of an unknown enemy from Jerusalem, a wicked man called Papa Zen. A powerful mogul who knows too much about Sabina and her mysterious birthmark. She is the one he was looking for so long…
12 lost pages from the Bible
Car chasing, guns, and fights
Yakuza and Ndrangheta families
Palermo, Istanbul, Jerusalem
Deaths, tears, broken hearts
Sophia von X is a story of violence and obsession, secrets and tragedy, lies, religious hate, and love.
Victoria Ray grew up in Orša, one of the oldest towns in Belarus. Although interested in writing fiction from a young age, it wasn't until 2018 that she decided to pursue it as a career. Victoria lives in Sweden with her family and two dogs: Daisy and Sky. She hold Phd in Classic Russian Literature.
1. Sophia von X (grotesque thriller and suspense; religious thriller; humorous fiction)
2. SO ABSURD IT MUST BE TRUE #1, Unique and Absurd Series (surreal humor and satire)
3. DULCINEA and THE DEATH CODE #1, Child of Illusion Series (young adult, absurdist urban fantasy)
4. 42 DEGREES OF TRUTH #1, Unicorn (satirical poetry/adult humor)
5. 42 DEGREES OF TRUTH #2, Blue Giraffe (satirical poetry/18+)
She is working in genres:
- surreal humor and absurdist comedy,
- adult humor and satire,
- Ero Guro (erotica + grotesque),
- bizarro sci-fi/fantasy,
- humorous thriller,
- satirical poetry.
Writing style - satirical, dark and 'quixotic'!
Thank you for joining us! We hope you enjoyed the event and that you have a few more reading recommendations from it.
Join us in April when we will have another month long event featuring fairytale retellings.
1) Why did you choose to write horror?
I didn't exactly choose it, more fell into by accident. I started out writing fantasy (which I still do), but after writing a nice, sweet story for an informal competition, my muse deserted me (apparently she is allergic to nice and sweet). To wash away the writer’s block, I penned a horror story about Jack the Ripper. This unlocked my dark side (both my muse and I adore killing characters it seems) and I stumbled into the horror genre. It also seeped over into my fantasy writing, as I specialize in the dark stuff in that genre too.
2) What is your fav thing about the genre?
Did I mention killing off characters in satisfyingly gruesome ways? I did? Well, the psychological aspects of horror also fascinate me, the underlying motivations and emotional issues that drive people to extreme actions. Plus, I love dark myths and folklore.
3) Tell us about your latest book
My latest book, Visions and Nightmares, isn’t out quite yet, but will be released in March. It’s a collection of ten horror fantasy stories with female protagonists. It’s all about revenge, loss, secrets, survival and inner darkness. I have stories based on the Wendigo folklore, Alice in Wonderland, a nod to eldritch gods, some dark faerie magic, plus a few more goodies.
Here’s the tagline: Tragedy spares no gender... and takes no prisoners.
4) If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of going into the dark places. I’ve seen writers new to horror hesitate to explore more disturbing topics, thinking they’ll be rejected by readers. And while I think you need to mindful of readers and potentially sensitive topics, horror has the capacity and leeway to explore far more shocking things than any other genre.
5) Who are your fav women in horror?
A lot of my favourites are indie authors, writers such as Angela Yuriko Smith, Kindra Sowder, Emerian Rich, Carmilla Voiez, Nina D'Arcangela and Naching T. Kassa. I’m also a big fan of artist Jeanette Andromeda, who runs horrormade.com and has done illustrations for The Wicked Library.
Excerpt from the story, Family Trait, from the book, Killers and Demons II: They Return
Sarah sat in a coffee shop, staring out a window. She didn’t want to think about what happened with Jason, about why she was single again, or why he was gone. Sarah thought she found her home with him, that they belonged together, but it fell apart so badly. She wanted to act as if it were just another breakup, except this time things were different.
“God, I acted like a crazy freak. I bet Jason thought so too before…” Sarah closed her eyes, blocking the memory of that night.
That’s why she sat here drinking a latte instead of going home. She didn’t have to face her troubles here, just stare out the window and pretend. In her apartment, the reminders lingered.
“I know I’m going crazy.” She whispered her fears into her half-empty coffee cup. “I’m turning out like Mom.”
Sarah could still hear that phrase in her head.
The strong don’t break; they snap.
That’s how her mother’s problem was explained to a five-year-old Sarah by her Aunt Rachel.
And here I am at twenty, wondering if I’ve snapped too.
She didn’t know how else to explain the things she wanted, the thoughts in her brain, her behaviour for the last few weeks. She drained the last of her coffee and sighed.
Hiding isn’t going to help me though. I need to find answers. I just wish I knew where. I wish I had someone to talk to. I wish I didn’t feel so alone.
She certainly couldn’t count on her mess of a family. Her father moved out of the city last year, but even before, they had never been close, never connected after her mother went away. And her Aunt Rachel drifted out of her life after high school. She was on her own, the same old pattern.
Sarah sighed again. She knew she couldn’t put it off anymore. She trashed her disposable coffee cup, left the shop, and drove home.
Inside her apartment, Sarah gazed over the stylish space that used to be her sanctuary, her refuge. She walked across the tile to the kitchen, trying not to look at the pale, scrubbed spot with its still-visible bloodstain. She opened the refrigerator and took out some of the raw meat that used to be her boyfriend Jason. She preheated a frying pan, added a little olive oil and seasoning, and fried part of his arm for supper. After that, she watched some TV and went to bed, dreading the next day.
Sarah woke late the following morning. The sun streamed in her bedroom window, illuminating the whole bed. The warmth felt nice on her face and her toes that poked out from under the covers.
I should just stay here, spend all Sunday in bed.
She considered the idea, smiling at the thought until she turned and saw Jason’s empty pillow. She shifted her gaze to the window and stared miserably at the beautiful day.
He loved to sleep in on Sundays.
A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she has published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.
It appears that the future of horror movies - lies in the past. With remakes, updates and sequels becoming ever more popular, it seems like audiences want more of what they are used to.
Jamie Lee Curtis has made a trio of new Halloween movies, despite being killed off in Halloween Resurrection. Trying to recapture the magic of the 1978 original, while bringing the story up to date for new audiences is not an easy task.
Movies such as the Conjuring feature stories from the 70's and some real life characters.
Remakes can be hit or miss, but it does help promote the movies to modern day audiences who may not have been born when the originals came out.
The wave of nostalgia looks set to continue in the near future, but it makes you wonder, where will they go next? There are plenty of excellent books out there, waiting to be developed into movies. Hopefully we can see some of them soon.
1) Why did you choose to write horror?
I have loved horror since I was a child. My mother would always have horror movies on and we would watch them. I love the whole good defeating evil storyline.
2) What is your fav thing about the genre?
With horror, you can have most other genres thrown in too. You can have romance, action, and more. Horror is about exploring your fears in a safe environment and telling a great story along the way.
3) Tell us about your latest book
My latest horror book is called Hotel Hell: The Penthouse. I was inspired by the tales from the Cecil Hotel and I thought it would be interesting to see what it would be like for an employee working in the hotel. I chose Georgina, a woman desperate for a job who comes to work as a maid at the hotel. Weird things start to happen and they get worse when a guest stays in the Penthouse. A very dangerous guest.
4) If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
Use your own fears to help craft your story. Always think - how can things go wrong, then ramp up the tension. I also like slow build, when small things happen that seem inconsequential on their own, but when you put them together it gets bad.
5) Who are your fav women in horror?
Oh sooo many! All the women who took part in this event! I also love Laurell K. Hamilton and Anne Rice. My overall favorite though is Wynonna Earp. I adore the show to the point I am considering getting a tattoo!
Excerpt from Hotel Hell: The Penthouse Book 1
William Jones stepped off the hansom cab and took in the sight of the Harrington-Smyth hotel. Standing five stories tall, and holding over two hundred rooms, it was a magnificent sight. He had heard his father talk about it, but this was the first time he had laid eyes on it. William was away at school when his father took over as manager of the hotel. The job took him far from home, but with William away at school and his wife long gone, he felt ready to commit to the job.
Last month, his father passed away. William wasn’t expecting the letter he received from the owner, Mr. Smyth, asking him to come to the hotel about a potential job offer. William was quite happy with his job at the bank and had no intention of taking the job but considering how much the hotel meant to his father, he felt that it was better to meet Mr. Smyth in person, to tell him face to face.
After tipping the driver, he retrieved his bag and went inside. The foyer was almost empty, which surprised him. He heard that this was one of the most successful hotels in the city. Or at least that is what his father always said. Perhaps he exaggerated the truth, in order to make things sound better.
He approached the check-in desk, where a man, dressed smartly in a suit, was waiting.
“Can I help you, sir?” he asked William.
“Yes, I’m here to see Mr. Smyth. He sent me a letter,” William said, removing the letter from his pocket.
“Ah, you must be Mr. Jones. Mr. Smyth is waiting for you,” he said. He led William to a small office, close to the check-in desk.
Mr. Smyth was seated behind the desk. He rose when William entered the room and offered his hand.
“Thank you for coming,” Mr. Smyth said, shaking his hand.
William was struck by how different he looked from the photograph his father had showed him a few years ago. He was thinner and seemed to have aged a great deal in a short space of time. Considering the unfortunate events that had befallen him in the last few years, it was understandable. Shortly before his hotel opened to the public, his stepdaughter had died suddenly. His wife passed two years after that. It seemed that no matter how much success a man had, some things in life were irreplaceable.
“Mr. Smyth, I was flattered to receive your letter, I know how much this place meant to my father, but I am already employed so I am afraid I will have to decline your kind offer.”
Mr. Smyth studied William for a few seconds. “Did your father ever tell you about this place? I mean the real truth about the hotel?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.” Real truth?
Mr. Smyth sighed. “I was afraid of that. Your father held a very important position here at the hotel. He was a caretaker, of sorts, and without him I’m afraid the hotel cannot function.”
“I thought my father was the manager?” William said, confused. A caretaker implied an altogether different kind of job. Had his father lied to him?
“He was the manager, yes. But his job here was so much more than that. This hotel is…unusual. Your father was able to keep everyone in line and ensure that it ran smoothly, with a limited number of fatalities.”
William was sure he had misheard the man. “Fatalities?”
“Mr. Jones, when I built this hotel, I made additions that you would not normally find in other buildings. Your father discovered what I had done and vowed to keep the evil in this hotel at bay. He made a pact in blood, and I’m afraid as his heir, it is up to you to take his place.”
I opened my mouth, to call the man mad, when a scream echoed through the hotel. Rising from my seat, I looked to Mr. Smyth for an explanation.
“It’s getting worse. I’m afraid you don’t have a choice, Mr. Jones.” There was real fear on his face.
“This is madness. You sir, have taken leave of your senses.”
William stormed out of the office and straight into chaos. A woman lay on the ground of the foyer, convulsing wildly. Two men were attending to her, but she lashed out, striking them both.
“Someone should fetch a doctor,” William said.
The woman suddenly arched back, bending at an unnatural angle. William could swear he heard bones crack.
The woman’s head twisted around to look at William. Her eyes were open, but they were devoid of color. Two white orbs stared at him, sending a chill down his spine.
Her mouth twisted into wide grin, revealing a row of yellowed teeth.
“William,” she said in a deep, masculine voice, “I haven’t seen you since you were a child. We killed your father. If you stay, we’ll do the same to you.”
Her body dropped to the floor and she lay still. William was struggling to draw a breath. The woman was surely possessed.
“Is this some kind of witchcraft?” he asked Mr. Smyth.
Mr. Smyth regarded him with a level stare. “There is evil here. Evil that will spill out into the world if you do not help me keep it contained.”
“No,” William said, hoarsely. “I won’t be a part of this.”
He hurried toward the door, eager to escape this house of horrors. As he attempted to cross the threshold, back into the street, he was thrown back onto the floor.
Stunned, he got to his feet, shaken by the fall.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Jones,” Mr. Smyth said, taking a few steps toward him, “but I’m afraid you can no longer leave. You are a part of this hotel now. You are the new caretaker.”
1. Why did you choose to write horror?
I've always personally been into horror. My dad used to sit me down and we'd watch those B movies where everyone makes the dumbest mistakes and suddenly there's now an octopus shark hybrid and Oh, no! Not another one that no one knew about! lol. My preference tends to lean more towards the graphic and weird rather than the stuff that keeps me up at night (Don't you dare bring a Ouija board near me, demon-child!) but I thoroughly enjoy horror, so when I started writing books, it was only natural to incorporate my love in.
2. What is your favorite thing about the genre?
For me, it's the variety. Everyone has a fear and sometimes we don't even realize it until we watch it or read it in a movie. I mean, Chrinstine by Stephen King. Who would have thought to have a murderous car? And why am I suddenly talking to my own car like it's sentient? lol. The fact that there are so many options, so many fears to play off of, that really makes horror my favorite.
3. Tell us about your latest book.
My Horror-infused books are actually fairytale retellings. My latest one is called Vicious as a Darling which is book one in the Daughters of Neverland. It's a continued spin-off series from my first series, Sons of Wonderland. I call it Horror Romance because Romance plays a heavy hand in the books but the world around them has all the Horror. In VAAD, Wendy Darling is a pirate of her own ship and dancing around Captain Hook but the true villian is someone entirely different. You'll find grotesque creatures, the Lost Boys who grow horns based on power and drink blood when their able, a very dark Peter Pan. Tink is the Queen of the pixies and as wicked as can be. Tiger Lily will rip out your throat is wears a headdress of a giant bat-like creature. The world is dark and terrifying but amidst all that, there's some happy thoughts that'll be sure to get everyone killed.
4. If you had one piece of advice about writing horror, what would it be?
Don't stick to just the normal fears. We're all scared of spiders and snakes and various other creatures, but it takes some real talent to make me afraid of my car. Create fears that stick with people, and then flick on a candle and remind them it's fiction. It won't help them sleep any better but hey, you tried and you succeeded. lol
5. Who are your favorite women in horror?
I really like Madeleine Roux (asylums have always interested me). She's really great. A lot of what I read tends to fall closer to the dark fantasy vibe but she's the first that comes to mind with more of the horror.
EXCERPT - FROM MAD AS A HATTER (SONS OF WONDERLAND BOOK ONE)
“You were supposed to be my friend!” Alice shouted. “You were supposed to be there for me! Where were you, Hatter? Where were you when I needed you?”
“We didn’t know, Alice,” the Hatter pleaded. He was manacled to the wall, blood dripping down his arms to his bare chest. His hat and his long coat had been stripped from him the moment Alice had ordered him to be thrown in the dungeons. The manacles were covered in odd symbols, the likes Hatter had never seen before. They glowed with the slightest movement and sent needles of pain into his wrists. “Time moves differently here. It isn’t linear. You could have left yesterday, or tomorrow, or a year before. There’s no way to track it.”
“I left twenty-five years ago,” she snarled. “As soon as I left Wonderland and started spewing stories of talking flowers and rabbits and Hatters, I was thrown in the asylum. My own parents paid them to take me away for fear of embarrassment. They thought I was crazy! Do you know what they do to mad people in my world?”
“Please, Alice,” the Hatter tried again. “We were friends. This isn’t what you want to do.”
Alice grinned, stepping closer to him. She ignored his comment, continuing on as if she never heard him speak.
“Electroshock treatments. Lobotomies. Did you know they cut into my brain? Said they would fix the part that suffered from insanity. Ask me if it worked. Ask me if I screamed, and screamed, and screamed.” Rage dripped from her voice, coating every word.
“You’re not my Alice,” he rasped, his voice already growing weak. Whatever was in the manacles was taking its toll.
“This is exactly who I am, who I’m meant to be. The treatments didn’t work. They just made me angry. Angry at the doctor cutting into me. Angry with Wonderland for showing itself to me to begin with. Angry at you for abandoning me. Now, I want to see if you can die, Hatter.” She thrust her hand into his bare chest, her claws wrapping around his still beating heart. The Hatter screamed in agony, blood trickling from the corner of his lips and flowing from where her hand still lay nestled in his chest.
“Alice,” the Hatter gurgled, his head slumping to his chest. “Alice.” His voice was barely a whisper, the pain shutting down his body.
“No,” she sneered, laughing maniacally as she ripped his heart completely from the cavity. She brought it to her lips and licked the blood, letting it drop down her chin and onto her chest. “Not Alice. Not anymore.” She smiled, a deranged curl, as she crushed the heart in her hand. “I’m the Red Queen.”
Kendra Moreno was born and raised in Texas where, if the locusts don’t drive you mad, the fire ants and sticker burrs will. Iced tea, or aptly called straight sugar, fuels her for battling the forces of evil and washing the never ending dishes her son dirties. She has one husband who listens to her spin tall tales constantly without fail. Although he doesn’t always know what she’s talking about, he supports her like a pair of expensive compression socks. Kendra has one son who will one day read her stories. For now she’s teaching him books are meant to be cherished and not destroyed. Her two Hellhounds keep her company while she writes. If she isn’t writing, you can usually find Kendra elbows deep in anything from paint to cookie dough or obsessing about her newest geeky addiction.
A Final Girl is the main hero in a horror movie, the one who ultimately defeats the bad guy - at least for now. These are our top 5 Final Girls
1) Laurie Strode (Halloween) played by Jamie Lee Curtis
2) Sidney Prescott (Scream) played by Neve Campbell
3) Nancy Thompson (Nightmare on Elm Street) played by Heather Langenkamp
4) Ellen Ripley (Alien) played by Sigourney Weaver
5) Alice Hardy (Friday the 13th) played by Adrienne King
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”