Retelling the Fairy Tale

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is which fairy tale would you pick to rewrite and why?

It’s kind of a funny question for me, because it’s starting to be more accurate to ask me which fairy tale I *haven’t* rewritten yet. Come on over for more. 

 

On Funerals and Fairy Tales

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I’m up in northern Wyoming for a funeral. Always good to see the Big Horn Mountains again, and to spend time with family. The one good part of sad events like these is that family from long distances come together and stories get told that people haven’t heard before. Something about a person’s death unlocks old memories, as if their passing has opened a window into all of their life.

Heart's Blood by Jeffe KennedyThis week in the Bordello we’re discussing our favorite fairy tales. Come on by and find out about my current obsession

Cover Reveal!!

Jeffe-Kennedy-Hearts-Blood-(Type)Look at this gorgeous cover the amazingly talented Louisa Gallie made for HEART’S BLOOD! She’s the artist who did Grace Draven’s gorgeous MASTER OF CROWS cover. I love, love, love that cover. So this is a big treat for me, to have a Gallie cover of my very own!

What’s super cool is you can get the image on various things and support the artist, too! 🙂 

This is my Goose Girl retelling, set in the world of The Twelve Kingdoms, previously available in the Dark Secrets Paranormal Noir Anthology, which no longer exists. The story stands alone, but intertwines with the other stories. 

A dark fairytale retelling of a princess robbed of rank, husband and even her name.

Nix is nothing. The Princess Natilde—her former waiting woman—attacked her on the journey to wed Prince Cavan, stripping her of everything and taking her place. With no serving skills, Nix becomes a goose girl. Perhaps if Nix keeps her promise never to reveal who she really is, Natilde won’t carry out her vile threats. Prince Cavan entered his arranged marriage determined to have a congenial, if not loving relationship with his future queen—for the sake of both their kingdoms. But, his wife repels him more each day and he finds himself absurdly drawn to the lovely Nix.

With broken vows, anguish and dark secrets between them, Cavan and Nix struggle to find the magic to restore what’s gone terribly wrong… if it ever can be.

As soon as it’s available, I’ll add the buy links!

Now available in Kobo!

And at Smashwords!

And on Amazon!

Heart’s Blood with a Side of Whiskey Dick

Dark Secrets No AuthorsI’m offering a little peek into HEART’S BLOOD, my contribution to the soon-to-be-released DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY, over at Here Be Magic today.

This excerpt is especially special because it contains the phrase “whiskey dick,” which Megan Hart called out as entirely my fault that it appears in her story. In fact, it appears in all six stories.

Which is… well, fair enough. *How* did this happen?? Because of my smart-ass, riffing ways.

See, I learned the term from P!nk (as one does). In her song Blow Me (One Last Kiss), she has this line:

No more sick whiskey dick, no more battles for me

I asked on Twitter if it meant what I thought it meant and people assured me that, yes, it mainly refers to when a guy can’t get it up as a result of overindulging. (Though I understand that Cindy Eden used it a bit differently!)

As I was writing, the phrase popped into my head. Unusual for me when writing a fantasy story, and yet it fit the gritty, noir feel we were going for. Because it was fun for me to have a group to talk to while I was writing my story – we have a private Facebook group, for kitten-herding- I announced that I’d used this phrase. Then I threw out the semi-serious gauntlet, challenging them all to use “whiskey dick” in their stories.

To my surprise – they did!

Can’t wait to read everyone’s and find this little Easter egg.

So you can read the excerpt from mine over at Here Be Magic today and I thought I’d share excerpts from the others all this week here. Let’s start with Rachel Caine‘s!

The overall blurb:

Six award-winning authors bring you this spellbinding collection of stories about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule.

MARION, MISSING by Rachel Caine

Valentine is a detective with two major problems: he’s been offered a kidnapping case that will probably get him killed, and his partner won’t let him turn it down. He owes her that much … since his partner’s a ghost, and he’s the one who killed her. A dark, haunting noir mystery of love, hate and loss.

The Excerpt

“Tell you what,” he said. “I can’t give you any guarantees I can make much progress. I’ll take twenty as a retainer. We’ll settle up once I report back.”

“We don’t want no favors, young man,” Carlyle said. He looked like what he was—an upright, dignified man in the last quarter of his life. A man who’d probably never taken a dime he didn’t earn by the sweat of his brow. A man who’d never bought on credit. A church-going voter who pulled the lever every election, faithfully, even when others lost that faith.

Val looked at pulling the lever like playing a broken slot machine. But he wasn’t Carlyle. Not even close.

“It isn’t a favor,” he said. “I work for a living. Tilde would have told you that.”

Carlyle frowned, but he nodded and passed over the bill. Val wrote him out a receipt on a corner of his notepad, tore it off, and passed it over. “Sorry. All the receipt pads are packed up.”

“This’ll do. We trust you.”

Carlyle stood up. Mrs. Carlyle—he’d never heard either of their first names, and likely they hardly ever used them anyway—stayed seated with her knees primly together, and her purse on her lap like a dog that might run away. She stared right at Val’s face and said, “You believe in spirits, Mr. Valentine?”

“No.”

Tilde’s whispering laugh came to him from the file room. “Liar.”

“I do,” she said. “I believe my niece wants you to find our little Marion. You find her. For Tilde.”

He stood up and offered his hand to her. He meant to help her up, but she shook it, firm as a man, before she got up all on her own, took her husband’s arm, and walked out.

The door closed softly behind them, and the closed blinds swayed. He went and locked it, after. No sense letting more trouble come in.

Barn door, and the horse already bolted, he thought, and before he could turn, he knew she was there. He smelled that light, floral perfume again.

This time, he felt a cold hand stroke gently over the back of his neck. He didn’t turn. He was afraid that if he did, he might see the wrong Tilde. The one from his nightmares.

“Thanks,” she whispered in his ear, and then she was gone.

*****************************************************

Add DARK SECRETS to your TBR!
We are now on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26135577-dark-secrets-a-paranormal-noir-anthology

Preorder here!

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The End!

Grape Arbor 6_29_15So, yesterday I finished writing THE PAGES OF THE MIND!

(There’s nothing on that link yet – I just put it there for the FUTURE.)

I’ve been writing in the grape arbor pictured above, which has been really lovely. A nice place to finish this book.

This is book four of The Twelve Kingdoms, picks up in the aftermath of THE TALON OF THE HAWK, and moves into the librarian Dafne Mailloux’s point of view. I’m pretty sure I say this every time, but wow – I was not at all sure how that one was going to come together. Even yesterday when I started writing, I didn’t know how the riddles would be answered or what Dafne would decide to do. I wrote the final pages yesterday in a sudden, accelerated rush as it all fell into place. Astonishingly wonderful experience. Worth all the emo thrashing I was doing there for a while. Which is something you all can absolutely remind me of when I’ll undoubtedly do it again.

But for now, the next book isn’t due until January 1, 2016, which feels like a *luxuriously* long time from today.

In one of those serendipitous coincidences of timing, I also found out yesterday that THE TALON OF THE HAWK was nominated by RT Book Reviews for best book of June 2015! Book 2 in this series, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, was also nominated, in December 2014, and book 1, THE MARK OF THE TALA, received the win, the Seal of Excellence, in June 2014. So, all in all, I’m tremendously gratified at the reception this series has received. It’s been amazing.

Regina Small at RT said of TALON:

“Every time I finish a book in the Twelve Kingdoms series and declare that it’s better than the last, I feel like I’m betraying my past self. After The Tears of the Rose, I thought there couldn’t possibly be a more moving portrayal of a character’s evolution or a sexier fantasy romance. But somehow, Jeffe Kennedy has proven me wrong yet again. In The Talon of the Hawk, Kennedy explores Ursula’s divided loyalties — to her sisters and the future of the Twelve Kingdoms, and to her increasingly unhinged father, Uorsin. Ursula stepping out of her father’s shadow dovetails beautifully — and painfully — with her sexual awakening, brought on by Harlan, the powerful-yet-gentle mercenary captain. For series fans, Ursula’s story pays off so much of the ongoing mythology of the Twelve Kingdoms. And Harlan’s unwavering devotion to Ursula is so poignant and perfect — I’m still swooning.”

(Also, THE MARK OF THE TALA is on sale at Amazon for only $2.51, which is a great deal to snap up – it’s usually $9.00 or more.)

People are asking me what the next steps on PAGES are. It’s technically due tomorrow, July 1, but my excellent editor Peter Senftleben gave me an extra couple of weeks to polish. So today and maybe tomorrow, I’ll do some tweaking. Fix a few things that changed when I discovered the ending. Weave in some backstory. Fill in all the [ ] I leave in the text as I’m drafting for people and place names I need to decide on. Then I’ll send it to the CPs. They’ve already read the first 75% or so and gave me feedback on that.

Then I’ll spend the end of this week letting PAGES cool, to give me a little distance from the story, while I revise HEART’S BLOOD. This is a story – a Goose Girl retelling set in the world of The Twelve Kingdoms – that will be in an anthology with five other authors, out September 29. It’s called DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY. You can read more about it here.

I’ll pick up PAGES again around July 6, after spending July 4th weekend – Independence Day in the U.S. – doing absolutely *nothing* productive.

After that? I have plans to work on a secret something I’m brewing with fabulous sister Fantasy Romance author Grace Draven.

There will also be enjoying summertime in the grape arbor. Hope you all get to also!