Even though the Brothers Grimm (published 1812), Hans Christian Andersen (published 1835), and Disney are probably the most recognizable names in fairy tales, Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was the first to modernize the popular folk tales of his time and use them for his own agenda and beliefs.
French born Perrault was the youngest of four children. He was a poet and a writer who believed that literature needed to be modernized. According to The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, “Perrault took the side of modernism and believed that France and Christianity could move forward only if they incorporated pagan beliefs and folklore and developed a culture of enlightenment.”
Using humor, adding morals and keeping the original superstitions attached to popular folk tales, Perrault wrote Histoires ou contes du temps passe’ (Stories or Tales of Time Past) in 1697. This collection included Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Fairies. He is said to be responsible for the most recognizable factors of these stories like the red hood, the pumpkin and Cinderella’s glass slippers.
He died in May of 1703 in Paris.
I hope everyone had a fabulous summer. I have a few things going on with my writing projects and some fun promo stuff coming up, too.
The Trouble with Snowmen: I’m super excited because I just received news that The Trouble with Snowmen eBook will be FREE from October 9, 2016 – October 13, 2016 on Amazon. This is the first time it has been offered for free. If you haven’t had the opportunity to grab a copy, now is your chance to check out the first book in this quirky romantic comedy series. It is still a few weeks away, so don’t worry, of course I will remind you – lol.
Young Adult Fairy Tale Inspired Magical Realism/Urban fantasy: More good news (for me at least – ha ha). I’ve decided to keep the title to myself right now (superstitious much?) but my YA novel is complete at 51,000 words. This book started out as a NaNoWriMo Project in 2011 (my best guess) and I have worked on it in between other books. So it has been stewing for a while.
It has been nice getting back to writing a story inspired by a fairy tale. Fairy tales have a special place in my heart and in the creative writing areas of my brain.
So the next thing is trying to find it the perfect home. Wish me luck J
Love and Laughter,
In celebration of Supernatural Fairy Tales 5th anniversary, my fairy tale inspired paranormal short story collection is FREE! (September 10-14)
Below is one of the stories included in the collection. It was inspired by the fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes and is just a bit of fun. I think it is a good representation of the 9 stories that are in the book.
Get your eBook copy from Amazon world-wide. Here is the US link: Amazon US
The Vampire’s New Suit
by Dorlana Vann
His apartment was on the top floor of a tall apartment building. Everyone knew he was a vampire, so no one would have bothered him even if he had been on the very bottom. That was why he found it strange when he heard the knock. After opening the door, he asked, “May I help you?” but thought: magnificent, take-out delivered to my door.
“Excuse us, Mr. Smith,” said the first young man of two, “for dropping by unannounced, but you’re not listed.”
“There is a reason for this,” the vampire said.
The second young man said, “I’m Mark, and this is my partner, Trey.” He held out his hand graciously and, without a mere tremble, he shook the resident’s hand.
Intrigued, Smith sought to connect with the gentleman’s eyes. When he avoided this with skill, the vampire couldn’t help but grin, something he hadn’t done for centuries. “Perhaps you have happened upon the wrong doorstep,” he said, only because he liked them.
Trey cleared his throat and also avoided Smith’s stare, except with less sincerity. “We’re new to town; however, we do know… who you are.”
Mark said, “We believe we offer a service that may very well interest you and benefit your particular situation.”
“Hmm,” Mr. Smith said. “Is that right? Well, in that case, do come in.” It had been a long time since the vampire had guests—that were alive at any rate—and he found that he was quite enjoying the change of pace. Suddenly the mundane lifestyle that he had become accustomed to became clear: sleep, eat, and watch TV. He had been doing the latter before the interruption and used the remote to click off the early evening news. “Please, have a seat,” he told the boys. “I’m afraid I do not have any refreshments… that you would enjoy.” He couldn’t ignore the sudden sound of Trey’s heart as it pumped a refreshment of its own. He licked his lips, knowing the evening could only get better.
“Mr. Smith,” Mark said, clearly noticing the look of desire in the vampire’s eyes. “Perhaps we should come back another time?”
“Don’t be silly,” the vampire said. “There is no better time. Perhaps you should state your business.”
“Of course,” Mark said, pulling Trey down beside him as he sat on the couch. “Our company, of which Trey here is a new recruit, provides a unique service to, shall I say, our nocturnal clients. We understand and sympathize with the fact that you are a prisoner in your home from sun-up to sundown. We have developed a fabric that is solar and flame resistant but extremely lightweight. We design and produce clothing made of these exclusive materials.” Mark reached inside his bag and pulled out a black swatch. Handing it to the vampire he said, “This is the most popular with our clients, but we do offer many different colors. All we need to get started are your measurements. As you can imagine, this discreet service is not cheap. It’s company policy to receive half…” he stopped when it seemed he had lost his audience.
The vampire had walked into his modest kitchen and turned on the stove. After all, he wasn’t born yesterday. He put the little piece of fabric over the flame. Nothing happened. He was impressed, already imagining the possibilities. The thought of walking outside during the day after so many, many years was very enticing.
The young men took out their tailor tools, a small catalog, and more fabric samples. In no time, Mr. Smith had chosen a dark gray, pinstriped suit with a high collar, black gloves, and a hat complete with ear and neck coverings.
As the weeks passed, the vampire actually became fidgety. He thought about all of the wonderful things he would be able to do during the day. He could even do lunch—if he were to be so bold.
He began to amuse himself as he pondered curious things that didn’t have to do with feeding. He wouldn’t have to hide in shadows. Maybe he would see a matinee. He could walk among the mortals, saying, “Good afternoon.” He picked up the catalog the young men had left behind. He thought that next time, he might even buy khaki. He would almost be… human.
Finally, the knock came at the door.
Mark held up a black garment bag. “I have your new suit,” he said with a smile.
The vampire moved out of the way and let him enter the apartment. “Where is your friend?”
“Trey told me he had a previous engagement,” he said and then winked. “Between us, I think he’s a little afraid that you no longer need us.” After giving the vampire ample time to answer, Mark said, “You know, I am your personal tailor, and the only way to get more of these, is through me.” He put the bag on the couch and unzipped it. He pulled out a handsome, well-tailored suit.
It was just like the one in the catalog. Mr. Smith couldn’t hold back his excitement and snatched it out of Mark’s hands.
Mark winced from the sudden pain the vampire’s nails had caused. The amicable mood immediately transformed into intense as they both looked at his hand, the red blood slowly escaping its safe haven.
For the first time, the vampire caught and held Mark’s stare. It was so unexpected and so challenging that it seduced the vampire into wanting to win. It had been a long time since he had fought such a tough challenger. But of course, the mortal was no match in the end.
The vampire dropped the suit, catching Mark before he hit the carpet and carefully placed him on the couch. He grinned, his fangs hungering for the taste of such a satisfying victory. Nevertheless, he looked down at his new clothes. The young man would be out for a while, plenty of time for him to try out his new suit.
Although the vampire had acquired quite a wardrobe over the centuries, he had never felt the likes of the material that was against his body. It was soft, like silk, yet form fitting. He wished he could see himself in a mirror. He settled with knowing he would be able to analyze the expressions on people’s faces. Even though the glare of terror so pleased him, he was anxious to see a new look in their eyes; one of awe and admiration. Complete with gloves and hat, he walked out his door.
“Wake up sleepy head.”
It took Mark a moment to stop his dream and to realize he was asleep. He opened his eyes, took in a panicked breath, and sat straight up. When he clearly remembered his predicament, he hastily felt his neck.
Trey stood over him with his arms crossed. “You’re clear. Even if I am a rookie, I know the rules. If he had bitten you, you wouldn’t have woken up.”
Mark nodded, feeling truly foolish. In all his years of being a slayer, he had never allowed himself to be hypnotized by one of them. “Mission complete?”
“Poof,” Trey said, his eyes wide with excitement. “You should have seen him. Oh, that’s right; you decided to take a nap. Anyway, it only took him a second to trust the suit before strolling down the sidewalk like a man about town. When I realized you weren’t right behind him, I knew what I had to do. But don’t worry; I waited, like you taught me, until he hit the mark. I was shaking so bad, but I managed to grab the pull tag before he even noticed me. But when he did see me, he knew something was rotten and went for my throat. I ducked and ran like hell. What a rush! When I was far enough away and got the nerve to turn around, I saw him still standing in the same spot with nothing on but a frown. But then a second later…” Trey had his fist up by his face. He popped his hands open wide and whispered, “pooffff.”
“Did you gather the catalog and the rest of the money?”
“Yeah, all right here.” Trey held up a white envelope. “You know, I still don’t understand why we just don’t clean them out.”
“I’m not in this for the money. I only charge what is needed to fund our operation. Otherwise, we could turn into the bloodsuckers.” Mark stood up, still feeling a little woozy. “Speaking of bloodsuckers, who’s next on our list?”
“Female,” Trey said. “What I hear is that she’s really young-looking, smart, and smokin’ hot. Hmm… I don’t know. We may have a problem, seeing as you let this repulsive ancient dude—”
“Funny,” Mark said, snatching the envelope from Trey. “Just give me the details.”
Werewolf, Young Adult, Dark Fantasy inspired by Little Red Riding Hood
Silverweed: A supernatural fairy tale will be free July 29, 2016 – August 2, 2016.
Once upon a time Granny was attacked by a werewolf. Eighteen years later her grandson, Aiden Young, arrives in Indiana for his aunt’s funeral, and his unfortunate discovery of the family secret leads to a fatal mistake. Before the weekend is over, he’s trapped by a blizzard along with his superstitious cousin, Diesel, and Scarlet, Diesel’s manipulative girlfriend. In his grandmother’s spooky, old house in the middle of the woods, the teen faces life and death decisions: who can be trusted, and who needs to be saved? However, he must first figure out what the true monster is… werewolf or fear. Because in this Little Red Riding Hood-inspired supernatural fairy tale, the roles of prey and predator become interchangeable.
Paperback and Ebook available
Chapter 1 – Once Upon a Time
Aiden Young stared out the window of the rental car. His mom, Lucy, had described early fall in Indiana as spectacular, but they’d missed autumn altogether, and she’d failed to mention that the heart of winter was so freaking bleak and bitter. He pulled a pen out of the spirals of his notebook and forced himself to ignore the poem he had written about Summer, his newly ex-girlfriend, on the previous page. On the next blank page, he wrote:
shivers through the claws
of dense skeleton branches
“What are you writing?” his mom asked from behind the wheel, rescuing him from comparing the cold poem to the way he felt. “I would love to hear something. You haven’t shared your poetry with me in a long time. You know, I still have the very first one you wrote to me. Let’s see, it went… ‘Mommy, mommy—’”
“Hey!” He cleared his throat. “Umm… are you sure you turned down the right road?” He couldn’t stomach his mom’s “when you were a little boy” stories, even if guilt did nudge at him. He knew in her mind the reason he had tagged along was so that they could spend time together. In real life, her trip on the same weekend Summer had planned to come over had been perfect timing, and that’s all. Summer wanted serious answers, and he didn’t even want to talk about it, didn’t want to think about it. “It’s been forever since I’ve seen a house. Only trees and more trees and dead trees…”
“Nervous?” She smiled as she glanced back and forth from him to the road, her new, short hairstyle bouncing to the movement.
“You not watching the road is making me a little jumpy.”
“No, I think city boy is scared of the woods.” She gave a quick laugh before saying, “Granny once told me she saw the devil out there. Pitchfork and all.”
“Well, if I was scared, that wouldn’t help.”
His mom watched the road in silence for a moment. “How much do you remember about my family?”
He shrugged. “I remember Augustus was a jerk.”
“I’m sure he’s changed by now.”
“I hope some other stuff has changed, too,” she mumbled. “There are a couple of things about them you probably don’t remember.”
“Wait!” Aiden pointed. “There’s a house down that hill. Is that it?”
“That’s it.” She made a sharp left.
As they drove down the driveway, Aiden frowned. The house was old and worn, the paint peeling like someone had raked the white two-story from the top of the black trim down to the dead bushes. The windows, with a brownish build-up on the glass, didn’t catch a single reflection. But the porch actually triggered a memory. He knew it wrapped the entire house because he remembered running around and around it when he was a little boy.
Lucy parked beside a red BMW. “I don’t remember it being so—”
“I was going to say old. Anyway, how do I look?” She sat up straight and examined herself in the rearview mirror.
Aiden didn’t say anything because after the first fifty times he had told her she looked fine, he’d realized she wasn’t listening for an answer. She was just nervous. They had almost missed their plane because she had changed her outfit a few hundred times. She had finally settled on black slacks, black leather jacket, pastel shirt, and low heels.
Aiden opened the car door. His Texas winter coat, actually a thin jacket, was no match for the icy wind. Since it had been shorts weather back home, he was thankful that at least he had worn long pants. As he walked toward the house, he tucked his hands inside his pockets and tried to look down at much as possible to keep the miserable cold from hitting his face.
Lucy knocked on the front door and looked around at the containers of flowers, plants, and condolence wreaths on the front porch. “I don’t see the one I sent.”
The door opened abruptly. Aiden had been seven the last time he saw his cousin, but he recognized the guy with dark, slicked-back hair and swollen eyes, one green and one blue, as Augustus. He wore jeans and an unbuttoned black shirt, which revealed a chain that dangled down a muscular chest.
“What?” His cousin’s voice sounded groggy, like he had been woken from a nap.
“Augustus? Hi. Remember us? Aunt Lucy. And this is Aiden.”
Augustus remained unenthused. “Oh,” he said, walking away. He left the door wide open, presumably for them to follow.
Aiden had half expected the inside of the house to look as unkempt as the outside. Other than the sheet-covered frame that hung on the wall with only a tarnished corner peeking out, there was nothing wrong or special about the spacious foyer. He glanced at the formal dining room, which was to the right, and at the hallway, stairs, and ramp on the left.
As they followed his cousin into a warm living room, Aiden noticed Augustus’ hair wasn’t short like it had first appeared but hung down in a pony-tail.
“Whoop,” Aiden said as he tripped on the corner of the rug.
Augustus turned and glared at Aiden. “Watch your step.”
Aiden smoothed the rug with his foot in case it was expensive or something. “Sorry, man.”
“The last thing we need around here is more bad luck,” Augustus said.
“Oh, everything is fine,” Lucy offered. “Aiden’s just real clumsy.”
She looked at Aiden sternly, as if to say, “Please, play along.”
“Right…” Aiden said with full sarcasm. “I’m a klutz. I fall down all the time.”
Augustus shook his head and walked to a chair that faced a blazing fireplace. A dozen or so pillar candles, at all stages of being burned, lined the mantle. A sofa, a wooden console television that looked so ancient Aiden doubted it received cable, and a small end table furnished the rest of the room.
They stood behind the sectional like two dummies. Slowly, Augustus swiveled around. “Sit down,” he said.
After they made it to the front of the couch, Lucy only sat on the edge, clearly uncomfortable. “Augustus,” she said. “I don’t know how to express how sorry we are.”
“Diesel,” Augustus said.
“I’m sorry?” Lucy replied.
“My name is Diesel.”
“Oh! Your middle name. When did you start going by your middle name?”
“Five years ago.”
“Oh,” she nodded. “How… are you?” She smoothed her hair. “Are you doing all right?”
“The funeral was yesterday,” he said.
“Yeah. I know, and I’m so sorry. I hoped we could drive out to the gravesite.”
“You missed your own sister’s funeral.”
“I know. I know. We really tried to get here on time but the airport, you know, and Christmas. It’s insane. Trying to rent a car was…”
Diesel shifted in his seat.
Lucy cleared her throat. “How’s Granny?”
“She’s sleeping. Do you want to see her?”
“Nooo, not if she’s resting.”
“I’ll be right back.”
When Diesel jumped up and walked out of the room, Aiden tried to exhale the tension with a silent whistle. The fire crackled as they sat waiting.
They both turned when they heard a loud knock coming from above. A railing supported by carved wooden balusters edged the open landing. “Gran,” Diesel said loudly. “Aunt Lucy and Aiden are here. Finally.” The bedroom door creaked open.
After he heard the door shut, Aiden leaned over to his mom and whispered, “Man, he sure did get weird.”
“Well, he’s been through a lot. He just lost his mom.”
“Sorry.” Aiden felt bad for a second. But still… “What was with the rug and bad luck stuff, and you making me look like such a dweeb?”
“I didn’t mean to. I was trying to make him feel better. It’s so strange. I had no idea Augustus believed in all that stuff, too.”
“Diesel,” Aiden corrected with a smirk.
She nodded. “I mean Diesel. They’re all a little different… a little superstitious, old-fashioned.”
“How do you mean, superstitious? Black cats and stuff?”
She nodded. “It seems like every little thing. You see, the reason Diesel got upset earlier is because stumbling is suppose to be bad luck in general.”
“How do you know that?”
“I grew up with all of it.”
“But you’re not superstitious.”
She leaned in closer to Aiden and whispered, “Because I knew all the old wives’ tales, omens, and folklore Mom told me and Rose were only make-believe, like fairy tales. Now Rose, she soaked it all in and actually believed. But she didn’t go all,” she waved her hands, “you know until…”
Aiden shook his head because he didn’t know. His mom rarely brought up her sister in conversation.
“Well, when she was pregnant, her boyfriend, Harley, ran off and left her. I think something completely snapped. Even though I had already moved out by then, I heard she took it hard. At least that S.O.B. left money for Diesel when he died.”
“She’s not feeling very well,” Diesel said from directly behind them. They both jumped. “She wants to know if you guys can go up there.”
“Sure, sure,” Lucy said, her face bright red.
They followed Diesel into the foyer and up the stairs. After a few steps up, the stairs turned to the right. Aiden could see over the banister, down into the living room.
When they arrived at Granny’s door, Aiden’s heart thumped in his chest. He hadn’t seen her in ten years. His own grandma, a stranger. He could also sense his mom’s anxiety; she took her time walking inside the room.
Granny sat in a recliner covered by a worn quilt. Her grey, bushy eyebrows went all the way across and met in the middle of her brow. Her cheekbones sank in, and her long, silver hair draped over both of her shoulders.
“Lucille, you came,” Granny said, her voice ungrateful.
“Mom,” Lucy said. “How are you?”
“I’m hanging in there.”
“I’m so sorry about Rose.” Lucy leaned over and gave her mom a distant hug. “I can’t believe she had a heart attack.”
“I don’t believe it, either. Doctors. All of them, money hungry. Hmph, it doesn’t matter, anymore. She’s gone. Rose is gone.”
Aiden heard the door close behind him. Diesel had left the room.
“She was a good daughter,” Granny said. “I could count on her. Always here for me.” She looked at Aiden. “My, my look at you. Come give Granny a hug.”
Aiden walked over to Granny’s stretched out arms and hugged her, smelling the scent of grassy earth. He pulled away, and she smiled warmly.
“It’s so good to see you in person,” she said. “I’ve been sent pictures, but it’s not the same. Look at you. You remind me of your grandpa; he was tall and thin.” She looked around Aiden. “Where’s my new grandson? How old is he now, two? Seems a shame, a grandmother never even getting to meet her own grandson.”
“He’s three and… he has a cough, and I thought it would be easier.” Lucy cleared her throat. “Mike stayed home with him.”
Granny eased her attention over to Lucy. “I see. So when are you running off? I guess it’s just as well, anyway.”
Lucy straightened and smiled curtly. “There’s something I need to talk—”
“You can stay in your old room if you want,” Granny interrupted. “It’s the same. We haven’t changed a thing in case you ever decided to come home. Aiden, honey, you can take the guestroom downstairs. I’m feeling quite weak. Please ask Diesel if there’s some leftovers from Rose’s friends that I can have for my supper tonight. Rose always made supper…”
“I’d be happy to cook,” Lucy said.
“I suppose that will do. Turn the light out when you leave.”
Lucy stood for a second, wringing her hands, and then took a couple of steps to the bedside table and snapped off the lamp. The room went dim but not dark because of the daylight sneaking in from the window. Lucy turned abruptly and left the room. Aiden smiled at Granny, feeling awkward. “See ya,” he said before following his mom’s exit and shutting the door behind him.
Aiden caught up with Lucy on the stairs, mid-ramble. “She chose to live with Rose, and now she’s acting like I abandoned her or something. She wouldn’t even give me a chance to ask her. What makes me even think she would want to move in with me?”
“It was a little soon to ask, don’t you think? Hi. Condolences. Want to pack up and move across the country?”
“Shhh. Why don’t we go to the car,” she said as they reached the foyer, “and we can talk.”
Once in the car, Lucy placed her hand on her cheek as she stared out the front windshield. “I hope you can understand why I need to do this.”
“I know, you and Dad explained it all at home. I mean, she’s old, and you don’t think a college kid like Diesel can take care of her.” Ever since his mom had brought up her plan, he had been apprehensive, especially since his mom suggested she extend the invitation to Diesel, too, at least until after the holidays. However, after seeing Diesel, he didn’t think he had to worry about him wanting to bunk together. He didn’t seem the type. And, since Diesel was legally an adult, he could have the entire house to himself. Aiden knew what he would pick if he was given the choice.
“I didn’t realize it would be so hard,” his mom said, speaking more to herself than to Aiden. “I can’t believe she’s saying I ran off. I didn’t run off. I got married… I couldn’t bring myself to come back very often because every time I did, Rose acted and looked so strange, like a witch or gypsy or something. I couldn’t stand to see her like that. She used to be so pretty. The last time we came here, I swear she was in the kitchen making some kind of potion.”
“Cool, magic potions.” Aiden imagined his aunt standing over a black cauldron, stirring it with a long wooden spoon.
“She wasn’t normal,” she whispered and wiped her eyes. “I tried to tell Mom that I wasn’t sure Rose should be taking care of anyone and to come live with us. Of course she wouldn’t hear anything bad about her Rose. She chose her over me… So it’s not my fault. But I really didn’t mean for ten years to pass. Now I feel like a terrible daughter and sister.” Lucy inhaled a long breath and let it out quickly. “I’ll never see Rose again, you know.”
“I’m sorry.” Aiden pulled a t-shirt out of his duffle bag from the backseat and handed it to his mom to wipe her tears.
“I know it’s too late to make it up to Rose, but maybe I can help Mom and be there for my nephew. He doesn’t have a mom or a dad now. We’ll sit down and have a nice dinner and discuss everything with them, as a family. I’m sure they’ll see that it’s the best solution. Right?”
“I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to get all into that.” She nodded and patted him on the leg. “I’m so glad you decided to come with me. I can’t believe you chose to spend your holiday with me. It means a lot to me.”
“Let’s just get the bags—”
“Wait a minute,” he said. “You’re not suggesting we sleep here, are you?”
“We don’t have a choice. After dinner it’ll be too late to drive very far. You saw downtown. Did you see a Holiday Inn?”
They had driven straight through Kingwood, Indiana. Surrounded by worn-down shops sat an old, two-story courthouse, complete with bell tower and soaring front steps that led to a columned porch. Unfortunately, he hadn’t seen anything that even resembled a modern hotel.
Lucy said, “Anyway, aren’t you the one who told me I should take my time?”
“Yeah, but I meant during the day and after we checked into a hotel that had room service.”
“It’s only for the one night.” Lucy sighed and stared at the house. “How bad could it be?”
He didn’t look forward to being in the house at night; it already had a creepy Poe atmosphere during the day. He imagined Diesel looming over his bed with a butcher knife chanting, “You’re bad luck. You’re bad luck…” Aiden shuddered. “Right,” he said.