Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Your Mother's Fairy Tales!

Recently, I received an acceptance on a book I submitted entitled, Loving the Beast. It's a contemporary erotic romance based on Beauty and the Beast, and the first book in a series called Fairy Tales Unleashed. Yay! More on that later as the release date nears. But...Yay!

So, I've been doing a little research on fairy tales. Like is it one word or two? I'll leave that debate up to the publisher. But as I searched out all these fairy tales--and there are waaay more than I imagined--there seemed to be one thing common to a good many of them--violence.

Decapitation. Cannabalism. Gouging out of eyes. Animal sacrifice.

For instance, we all know Sleeping Beauty is about an evil fairy, who when slighted, took her ball and went home--after leveling a death curse on an infant princess. A kinder, and waaay more rational, fairy lightens the curse by changing death to a hundred year sleep. After a century, and one helacious case of halitosis, passes, a prince wakens the sleeping princess with a kiss. Whoo-hoo! But did you know there is a part two to the tale? One that includes Sleeping Beauty's ogress--literally--stepmother who tries to eat Beauty's children. And would have except for the timely intervention of a cook who gives the ogress lamb and goat instead. I've heard every meat tastes like chicken, but...? So, when the prince returns to save the day, evil-ogress-stepmother falls in a pit of vipers--and we're not talking about the popular-mean-girl-clique pit of vipers--and is consumed.

Or what about Brother and Sister? As you may have guessed the story is about a brother and sister. The two siblings run away from home and into a forest because of mistreatment from an evil stepmother. Through an enchantment, the brother is transformed into a stag. They live in this forest for years until they are discovered by a king, who followed the brother/stag home. He marries the sister, of course, but their stepmother-witch discovers they are alive. The witch kills the queen, replaces her with her own disfigured daughter, who has been hit with a glamour spell to resemble the queen. Ever resourceful, the queen haunts her infant son until the king discovers the witch's actions. The stepmother is burned at the stake, the disfigured daugther is torn apart by rabid animals, the queen is brought back to life and the brother regains his true form . And they live happily ever after...after some gore and burning alive.

And don't get me started on The Little Mermaid! Grr! I'm still pissed at that! Boy did she get the raw end of that deal!

What I discovered during my investigation into fairy tales--besides the penchant for murder and mayhem--was there is so much more to these stories than Disney's happy endings. Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially since I am a romance writer. But there is also good vs evil, truth shining through darkness, friendship, goodness of heart, hope...and murder and mayhem.

Sigh. They just don't write 'em like that anymore...


Cara McKenna said...

Oh God, I read a collection of the original (translated) Grimm's tales over a Christmas break at college. Those stories are effed up!

I remember as a kid, someone told me about the un-Disneyfied version of Little Red Riding Hood, where the story ends with the woodsman slitting the wolf's belly open and fill it with rocks. That was a bit too hardcore for my tiny brain…though I did secretly enjoy the darkness of fairy tales. Hansel and Gretel both terrified and mesmerized me with its threat of cannibalism, ditto the bone-grinding giant from Jack and the Beanstalk.

Wynter Daniels said...

Poor step-mothers get a lousy rap! Maybe that's a warning for widowed fathers to choose more carefully;-) Congrats on the new contract!!

Dalton Diaz said...

I devoured those books! Loved 'em all. Funny that I don't write or read gore now.

Rhiannon Mills said...

I see a stepmother trend, there...lol. I love the original fairy tales. I've researched many of them just for the heck of it, and I have to say...The Little Mermaid is my absolute favorite, but I agree...she got a raw deal!

Naima said...

LOL! I know, Cara! It freaked me out, but in a let-me-go-on-to-the-next-fairytale-and-see-what's-in-this-one sorta way. LOL! I forgot about the woodsman eviscerating the wolf...dang, that's harsh! Hee-hee!

Naima said...

I was thinking the same thing, Wynter. I mean, does Hans Christian and the Brothers Grimm have step-mommy issues? I'm tempted to do a search and see what's up with that...hmm...next blog...hee-hee! But they did get the short end of the stick in fairytales!

And thanks on the congrats!!

Naima said...

Dalton, what could compete with the fairytale gore? I mean, it doesn't get better than being ripped to shreds by wild animals...hee-hee!

Naima said...

Rhiannon, I've thought about this a great deal...well, a while. And I'm sorry, the prince and his lady love woulda been toast and I woulda had my tail again if I had been the Little Mermaid! Does that make me less of a romantic..meh. I can live with that. LOL!

They're the absolute best stories though. I had a great time reading 'em!