And they lived... Life isn't always Happily Ever After, rather loving FOREVER, regardless! It's National Tell A Fairy Tale Day! Do you read Fairy Tales? If you said no, are you sure?
Let’s face it! We live in a world where few people find their happily ever after, even though most of our childhood stories preached that to us. Wait a minute! Did they? I keep hearing…and I’ve been known to write,
“I’ve obviously read too many fairytales...”
But when I look back, the fairy tales weren’t all sunshine and roses. In fact, as I wrote in another post of mine, often the characters in what we tag as fairy tales were beaten, banished, orphaned, poisoned, lost, and on and on…
So where does the fairy tale aspect actually play out?
Is it when the dashing prince on the white stallion sweeps in and they live happily ever after? Chuh! But, hey, the protagonist had to go through many trials to get there. So what’s so bad about that? Personally, I don’t think there’s a problem, except for putting all your dreams in one knight in shining armor who turns out to be a FROG! But you can still work at your happily ever after, with or without the prince or princess, right? Although, in my opinion, I think we’re all looking for someone who completes us.
The fact of the matter is a troubled past helps us appreciate a wonderful present.
When we experience trials, we often seek out God and loved ones for support and are that much more thankful when the trial ends. So, I don’t have trouble with fairy tales; that’s why I write them -- modern-day fairy tales, that is.
I put my characters through trials and tribulations because I know that somewhere, someone can relate.
Yes, there’s normally a knight in hidden armor, who usually requires some polishing up before he’s fit to be a prince. But again, isn’t that what great relationships do? They feed off each other to become better partners.
My husband will often tell people that he is a better person because of me, but you know what? If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be alive. So, together, we will make our happily ever after by filling each other's weaknesses.
If you’re interested, this is what I write about in all my stories. People who have flaws, but learn to overcome, trust when all else fails so they can love again, and forgive so they can know peace.
I even used fairy tale in my original tag line for the Creatus series:
Creatus - It is from them we obtain our fairy tales—and our nightmares. They are the reason we believe in superheroes—and monsters. Because…they exist.
And, yes, there is a "knight in shining armor," but the heroine has to go through A LOT of trials to find him. If you haven't read the Creatus series yet, the first book, which is actually TWO books, is FREE at all major book retailers or find it on Amazon.com! If you've already read it, find links to the next books in the series or pre-order the new release here!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer.
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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Write what you know...
I Write about what I know. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's sad, but it always ends in Happily Ever After!
A professor once told me that all first-time authors write their autobiography, even if tagged fiction. While I don’t believe that’s completely true, after all, some first-time authors write about vampires and shape shifters, I do think there’s a modicum of truth to that statement. In other words, even if an author writes a work of fiction, there are usually many elements of the story that are factual, and I’d venture to guess that, at minimum, authors probably pattern characters after people whom they know.
When my college professor suggested: “Write what you know.” — a quote often attributed to Mark Twain, but some say it is much older — I wasn’t certain if I really wanted to do that. After all, who would believe me?
Here are a few scary subjects I know about:
Child abuse, Sexual abuse, Drug abuse, Alcohol abuse, Abandonment, Rape, Suicide, Depression, Stalkers, Crime, Tragedies, Death...
But, thankfully, I also know about a lot of good subjects, too:
A new family, Hiking, Kayaking, Love at first sight, Happily ever after, Police & Detective Procedures, Belief in God, The power to overcome adversity…,
Hey, I moved out on my own at the age of seventeen, and I'm married to a retired police detective, so I've seen a lot. The problem is ... will anyone believe or want to read about "what you know?" Well, I guess that depends. If you put it into a story, add a little, as Hollywood refers to it: Based on a true story, but dramatic elements have been added for the sake of artistic expression, then, yeah, some people will believe and/or want to read because more than likely they can identify with a character and/or a situation. And while they can enjoy an escape into a fictional story, they may take something from it.
The funny thing is most of the stories throughout history are based on a couple of those "unbelievable" elements I listed above. Although they may not all be in the same story, "love at first sight," "family tragedy," and/or "an unbelievable or vicious crime" are often the basis of a work of literary fiction. Fairy tales did it. Suspense-thrillers do it. It’s a great start!
So if you don’t believe one or more of the elements of a story, does that make it "unbelievable" or a "bad" story? One of the most popular themes is "love at first sight," which often gets a bad rap by reviewers. You may not believe in "love at first sight," but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and many readers love it. In fact, even movies that aren’t tagged as "love at first site," usually have a hero and heroine thrust into an incredibly unbelievable situation, and are all of a sudden willing to die for each other. Of course, there are many classics like that, too: Romeo and Juliet, all the fairy tales, even The Godfather ... ooh, I bet you forgot about that one. Remember when Michael Corleone is walking through the picturesque countryside in Sicily and he spots the beautiful Apollonia… See, even graphic thrillers do it!
Well, as I mentioned in the above list, these are all the things I write about. Why? Because it’s what I know. So, let me share a tidbit of information with the unbelievers of the world who don't think "love at first sight" exists...
I’ve experienced a lot of tragedy in my life, but I got lucky in love! After my first date with my husband, I called my grandmother and told her I'd just met the man I was going to marry. Thirteen days later, he asked me to marry him. Thirty days later, we got married, and we’ve been married for thirty-one years.
Yes, I believe in "love at first sight," yes, I write tales filled with tragedy, mystery, suspense, hope and, above all, romance, because I’m living one. I’ll leave the rest of "what I know" situations that I write about in my books up to your imagination, and let you try to figure out what's real or made up. :)
Until next time, happy reading and imagining!
If you would like to read a little more about what I write, follow the links below to learn more about my bestsellers. My stories are available in print, eBook, and audio formats at your favorite retailer. I even have a few freebies, so you can dive in risk-free!
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As always, I like to remind the lovely folks who are reading this blog that first and foremost, I am a reader, then a writer. I read anywhere from one to three books a week, even when I'm writing. And considering the fact that I write only one to three books a year, I believe that means I have more clout as a reader than a writer. My opinion, of course. And ... I do understand that not everyone likes what I like. But that's okay. I never forget that. My posts are just my opinions. Also, since I also market books for a living, usually sharing one to six books daily, I read a lot of reviews. So, with that disclosure, onto today's discussion about reading and/or writing.
Today I want to talk about the unbelievable story and happily-ever-after comments in reviews.
One of my least favorite comments in a review is that the story was unbelievable. I guess when a reader says that, I'd just like a little more clarification. What was unbelievable? The fact that what happened, happened, or that the writer didn't make the characters seem believable?
I mean, really, if you think about it ... aren't all stories supposed to be unbelievable? Isn't that why they are stories in the first place? Even the "Based on True Events" stories. The reason those events are turned into a story is because the story is out of the norm, far-fetched, or shocking. I recently watched -- well, I was in the room as my hubby watched, as I NEVER would have watched the movie in a million years -- Pain & Gain. Halfway through the movie, and several times thereafter, the producers added a caption at the bottom of the screen: Yes, this is still a true story. Because it was so outlandish. I still have a hard time believing even half of it.
Heck, half of the stuff that was written thousands of years ago, is still read and studied in school: Greek Mythology, Homer's Iliad, for instance. No one questions a horse that flies or a half-man, half-goat. We know it's not real; it's called escapism. Especially back then when there wasn't much else to do but work and tell stories.
The fact of the matter is, whether we're reading a Tom Clancy thriller or a romance novel by Nora Roberts, the story is supposed to be a tad bit unbelievable, or it wouldn't be exciting to read. I'm not talking about easily searchable facts. Of course, the story -- even if it's paranormal -- should make sense. BUT ... if you think about it ... how many FBI agents are rogues. How many street blocks get shot up and wrecked during a high-speed car chase. Not many, believe it or not, because officers are instructed not to do high-speed chases in populated areas, unless it's a life-or-death situation. (Did I tell you I married a cop?) BUT ... you still see cars wrecking into buildings and the chase continuing in almost every book or movie. Because it's fun, exciting, unbelievable ... In real life, the police set up roadblocks and/or lay spike strips across the road, but that wouldn't be as tantalizing to read.
Same goes with dramas and romance novels. Believe me ... if I just wrote about my day-to-day life, I'd bore you to tears. BUT ... if I went back a few years, I could start a story right in the middle of the action of some sensational or horrific event in my life. And yes, you would probably say, “What are the chances that happened?” But that's what makes a good story. Or, I can take an average event, and add some crazy twist. The point is, if nothing unusual happens, it's not really a story. Heck, it's barely a journal. Other than a few scribbles, we rarely write about a boring day in our diary. No, we wait until something exciting happens.
The other issue in reviews is the Happily Ever After, which we readers and writers commonly refer to as HEA. I see a lot of people who say ... “Meh! It all worked out!”
Well, again, how many of us want to read a story where everyone dies at the end, or you just plain want to cry your eyes out. Sometimes it's okay ... if there's meaning behind it. Like the book/movie Pay It Forward. I had a love/hate relationship with that ending, but at least there was hope. (No spoilers! Another thing I loathe in reviews. It simply isn't fair to other readers)
As for books by Nicholas Sparks, I now question if the book has an HEA. I know that sounds lame, but I don't want a book where there's no hope at the end. I don't mind a few tears, but I want a smile at the end.
Anyway, most of us readers want a Story and an HEA (My opinion, of course, based on everything I see). We read for enjoyment, we read for escape, we read so that we can have hope. If you don't want everything to be all sunshine and roses, please let me suggest A Game of Thrones. Beautiful, poetic writing, BUT ... I don't think I'd be giving a spoiler if I told you to prepare for death. It's what George R.R. Martin is known for, I believe.
So next time you read a book, and it sounds unbelievable, remember, that's what authors are supposed to do: Tell a Story!
What say you? What do you like to read or NOT read in a book review? Feel free to start a conversation here or at any of my social media homes. I love talking about all things BOOKS!
Until next time, happy reading and writing, my friends!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post a few times a month, at the most. :)
Want to try to figure out what's real or make believe in my stories? Visit my Amazon page, where you can download a few of the "firsts" in my collections, free! I'll warn you, though, the parts that most people don't believe are usually the true parts. Again, a sensational event is usually what makes me write a story in the first place.
Image credit: flynt / 123RF Stock Photo
When life gives you broken eggs, make quiche!
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