On reworking an old fairy tale

I’ve been in a terrible mood this last year… writing has been largely like pulling teeth. The WIP I’ve been working on (Charlie) had me neck deep in research to the point where I wasn’t writing at all for days. So, I decided to stitch together an ode to my favourite odd couple, Beauty and the Beast, to cheer myself up.

My mom read a lot to me as a kid. All kinds of books… but I tended to gravitate towards this one illustrated copy of Beauty and the Beast (Deborah Apy) based on the 1756 version by Madame Le Prince de Beaumont that I mentioned in my last post.

I still have the book… it’s a little tattered and torn and the pages have darkened a bit, and the illustrations have gone murkier than they were before, but it’s what I consider one of my few cherished possessions. I loved the fact that the castle was immense and empty. I loved the idea of the mysterious hidden garden. It made me laugh how terribly angsty and melodramatic the Beast was… and it creeped me out to no end that he would stand there staring at Beauty while she slept: “…the Beast walked to the side of Beauty’s bed and looked at her longingly. He stood this way, for many hours, blood dripping from his hands.”

One of the most amusing parts was that in all the illustrations, the Beast was always done up in what looked like fancy bathrobes.

©1980 and 1983 by Michael Hague

The story was weird and I loved it. But, it wasn’t without its faults… for one, Beauty was a complete airhead. It made me wonder, more and more as I got older, what the Beast saw in her. I also didn’t like the nightly marriage proposals.

Oh… and I hated these two:

©1980 and 1983 by Michael Hague

Adele and Jeanette, Beauty’s sisters, two utterly despicable creatures. I never got why they were so horrible to Beauty… but then, that’s the nature of a lot of fairy tales—you have little backstory and characterizations tend to be exaggerated.

I could have gone dark with my version (and I may yet one day) but I wanted the first out of my fairy tale collection (because yes… there are more) to be a nice break from the seriousness of other things I’m writing, a break from the atrocities happening in the world, and something to put a smile on my face. And it worked. I love this silly story. :)

It’s a mix of the Apy/Beaumont version and the Disney one. I actually considered putting in a Gaston type character, but it felt superfluous. Instead, I went with a small cast, stuck close to the original Beauty and the Beast plot but added the much needed comic relief that the Disney version brought with the talking furniture sidekicks crossed with those from The Black Hole: A Spaceship Adventure for Robots. Then I filled it with sci fi and fantasy movie references and made the sisters a wee bit less evil. Oh and Juniper Bo might not be the bookworm that Belle is in the Disney version, but he’s definitely not the birdbrain that is Apy’s Beauty… and Marrex is a touch less melodramatic than Apy’s Beast. ;)

©1980 and 1983 by Michael Hague

Anyway, Beauty and His Beast available now at Amazon for kindle and in Paperback, and it’s in Kindle Unlimited for the time being. Michael Ferraiuolo will be doing the audiobook narration and that should be available in the new year.

If you’re interested in the version with Hague’s illustrations, you can find it at AbeBooks or at Amazon.

Hopefully my next book will be along shortly… Will it be Charlie? Or will it be something else I’ve been writing called The Blacksmith’s Apprentice?

 

Beauty and His Beast – Out Now!

Beauty and His Beast – Out Now

Once upon a time, long long ago, someone gave me an illustrated copy of Beauty and the Beast as a present. The story was a retelling of a retelling: this was Deborah Apy’s version retelling the one written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756, which was a retelling of the original story, La Belle et la Bête written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. I loved the story and the illustrations by Michael Hague really intrigued me—they were creepy and dark and fantastic. I loved his images of the horned, shaggy-albeit-well-dressed, angst-ridden Beast. Interestingly, we never get to see the miraculous transformation of the prince… The final painting in the book is of Beauty finding the Beast dying of heartbreak in his rose garden.
Years later, I would see the Disney version and, though the story isn’t all that similar to the original, I liked the comedic aspects of it. However, I was disappointed with the Beast’s transformation—call me strange, but I actually preferred him as he was.

Beauty and His Beast is a story that’s been percolating in my brain for a few years now. It’s a mashup of the original stories, the Disney version, and bit of another book that has nothing to do with Beauty and the Beast, but was my absolute favourite when I was really young: Disney’s The Black Hole: A Spaceship Adventure for Robots.
This story is not dark, not very long, and not particularly serious—just my silly take on a much loved, oft-retold fairy tale… in space.
I hope you enjoy it.

P.S. – Ghelyxian is pronounced Hell-EE-zee-an and Ghelyx, Hell-ix

Beauty and His Beast
Novella (~38,000 words)
Genre(s): Fairy tale, science fiction, xenophilia, magic penis, love story, LGBTQ+

They call him Marrex the Monster.

Deformed and wretched, Captain Marrex roams the black of space with only a pair of eccentric AIs for company. The curse in his DNA means a long, bitterly lonely life for the Ghelyxian, and it’s a fate Marrex knows he can’t change.

After a long sleep in stasis, Juniper Bo wakes to discover he’s an unwelcome guest aboard Captain Marrex’s ship. Though he tries to stay away from the surly Ghelyxian, he just doesn’t get why the curse is such a big deal—then again, Juniper knows his tastes are rather… unusual for a Human.

When friendship blooms between Marrex and Juniper, they realize they face a future that neither could have predicted in their wildest dreams.

Buy your copy today!

Cover & Blurb Reveal, Flash Fiction, and Giveaway!

Want to know what I’ve been up to? I’ve written a new take on an old fairy tale… in spaaaaace. Yup. :) And you know what? I’m giving away three copies!

Go over to Boy Meets Boy Reviews and take a peek at the cover and blurb for the new book, enter to win a copy of it, and then read a quickie called “Christos and the Mist”

…His grandmother laughed, waving off his apology. “Oh, I don’t care. I was only teasing. But you’re looking for trouble with all of… this.” She made a sweeping gesture encompassing him from head to toe.“What do you mean?”

“You’re such a beautiful boy, Chrisaki mou,” she replied. “You’re going to catch Zeus’s eye with all that beauty… he won’t be able to resist getting a better look at you.”
Chris snorted a laugh. “What?”
“You’ll never even see him coming—swan, bull, eagle… a shower of gold,” she said, her brown eyes twinkling with mischief as she waggled her fingers above Chris. “Next thing you know, he’ll snatch you up and have his way with you.” [Read the rest :) ]

 

Snuggle up with a psycho… Max is on sale for 99 cents!

Novel (49,000 words)
Genre(s): transgressive, psychopath, dark erotica, QUILTBAG

Want to meet Max? He’s on sale at Amazon (us & uk) for a very limited time.

Buy a copy today!

HOT TOPIC: National Coming Out Day – Featured Reads with Giveaway

Happy National Coming Out Day!

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Check out the post at KEBB for some great titles your chance to win a book!

Queer Sci Fi’s Renewal – out now

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads


Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir’s twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer


Included Authors

‘Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera

Back to School – 99¢ Sale

🎉 Sale ends August 31 – US & UK only

Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires – 99¢

Fated: Blood and Redemption – 99¢

Better the Devil You Know – 99¢

F.I.S.T.S. Handbook For Individual Survival in Hostile Environments (Sarge & Murphy) – 99¢

 

Overlap

My walls are green
My bed is soft
My mind fractures

Your walls are blue
Your skin is warm
My mind is yours

The walls are gone
Our touches hurt
Our thoughts bleed out

Fated (Baal’s Heart III) now available in audiobook! (finally)

Baal’s Heart #3

Novel (117,000+ words)
Genre(s): Historical Fantasy, Erotic Action/Adventure, Triad, Gay

Buy it from

And

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BLURB

With the captain’s mind in shambles, Jon and Tom set out to find the passage home through the black mountain range, hoping to find a cure for Baltsaros’s madness. However, when the men are forced to part ways, darkness takes root in the schism created; fate, lust, and vengeance become obsessions threatening to tear apart the fragile bonds holding the three together.

Following on the heels of Sacrificed, Fated takes the pirates on a quest to find those responsible for the captain’s bloody beginnings. But can they survive what awaits them where past and present meet?