Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Great 'Sleeping Beauty' Rewrite (III of IV)

If you missed Tuesday's post on Diamonds & Toads, I suggest you go read it so you'll know more about where these lovely short story retellings have come from.

As promised, here are the rest of the stories (and their authors) that entered the Diamonds & Toads contest. Their stories are published on a special page for all to read them. Please note, these are in no particular order, though I will be making another special mention today. The winner of the contest will have a special post all to herself in a couple of days (August 22nd). :)

A sincere thank you (again) to Kate Wolford of Diamonds & Toads for helping me put these posts together!

“Sleeping Beauty,” by Victoria Zhou, is notable for its extremely determined and mean villainess, Jade.

Diamonds & Toads comment: This story had an extremely compelling villainess, which made it stand out among the entries.

“Cinderella,” by Tom Mollica, turns the whole fairy tale theme on its head. “Cinderella” just happens to be the heroine’s name, and she falls into her sleep because of an aunt who is so anti-alcohol, she sets a spell on Cinderella to cause her to fall into her deep sleep based on one sip of champagne. A jolly story.

Diamonds & Toads comment: Kookie aunts, beer, a sleeping beauty named "Cinderella" -- I enjoyed this irreverent tale.

“Cupcake Princess,” by Jennifer Alberts, is a story set in a little French town, where the heroine is really just the daughter of the most talented bakers an author could dream up. This story is filled with references to confections, making it a foodie’s dream story.

Diamonds & Toads comment: How could I not love a story about cupcakes? A very yummy tale.

“Saving Beauty,” by Heather Spiva, clearly shows the reader how tough life would be for the parents of any “Sleeping Beauty,” character. Serious in tone, the story even has a Cain and Abel twist.

Diamonds & Toads comment: This was intriguing because it involved fostering the endangered heroine, and I liked the dedication.

“Sleeping Beauty 2009,” by Tyffany D. Neiheiser, has many of the conventional elements of the original tale, except dad is a doctor, and the “evil” force in the story, Aunt Destiny, in the end, is the one who brings our heroine happiness. For who can deny Destiny?

Diamonds & Toads comment: This story was such fun, because it was set in the suburbs, and the author did some smart work with "Destiny."

“A Gift Returned,” by Liz Chernov, features a schoolteacher hero and a villainess who keeps going even after the happy ending for hero and heroine. Dreaming is used as an intriguing way of letting the couple communicate.

Diamonds & Toads comment: I loved this entry because it had a charming hero and a well-drawn villainess.

Today's special mention is:

“The Sleeping Beauty Mystery,” by Carl Macek, which features a detective hero who brings Humphrey Bogart’s old movies to mind. Yet, it has a modern flavor to it as well, and is light and amusing.

Diamonds & Toads comment: I am a total sucker for a mystery. I can truly say that I thought this story was great fun!

And here's a brief excerpt from the beginning of "The Sleeping Beauty Mystery":

The package was delivered to my office, Charlie Prince Investigations, without a return address. I suppose somebody at the Post Office had finally decided to clean out a couple of their dead letter files and put some effort into delivering the previously undeliverable. But when I saw the ratty condition of the homemade cardboard envelope that was sitting outside my office door, I wasn’t all that eager to open it. I kept thinking about the people that I’d heard of who’d found out the hard way that what they thought was Aunt Agnes’ famous fruitcake turned out to be a letter bomb. The way I figured it, I had a fifty-fifty chance of coming out alive. I just closed my eyes and ripped the cardboard package apart.

What I found inside was an old VHS tape. I hadn’t seen one of those “antique” plastic cassettes for nearly 25 years. There was a piece of white tape along the spine with the words “Please Help” scrawled with a thick black marker pen. It took me almost two weeks to find someone who had an old video tape player that worked so that I could even watch the stupid thing. And by that time my curiosity was sufficiently piqued. But I wasn’t prepared for what I found recorded on that antiquated relic...

To keep reading, click HERE.

Stay tuned for the winning entry - coming in a couple of days on August 22nd.

NOTE: All images and close-ups are from Errol Le Cain's "Thorn Rose". Click on the sleeping dog at the head to find out more about this amazing animator and illustrator. He illustrated many fairy tales! The other pictures you can click on for a closer view - highly recommended.
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