Friday, October 28, 2011

Seekerville Welcomes Guest Blogger Melanie Dickerson


I’m so excited that Tina invited me to post on Seekerville during the birthday month! How cool is that? It’s probably no secret that this is my favorite blog, and I recommend this blog every time I teach a class or someone asks for my advice on their writing, or I judge a contest entry.

It’s also no secret that I like to write medieval romances based on fairy tales. I am inspired by these classic stories, and apparently, a lot of other writers are too. It’s become something of a trend to base a romance, a YA, a TV show, or a movie screenplay on one or more fairy tales. So, I decided to talk about timeless, classic fairy tales, like Beauty and the Beast, and why we love them so much.

What makes a story a classic? Why do fairy tales stand the test of time, so that we tell them over and over to our children and grandchildren? What makes people flock to see the Disney musical, Beauty and the Beast, when they’ve already seen the animated movie? There are many romance novels based on the Beauty and the Beast story. What is it about that story that fascinates us?

In two new TV shows, Grimm and Once Upon a Time, someone took the well-known fairy tales and put a new spin on them. And now there are two new live-action movies based on the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” tale, set to come out next year, with a third Snow White movie coming out soon after, from such movie-making powerhouses as Universal, Relativity, and Disney.

I think one reason these stories are classics is because Disney took them and made them into romantic, visually beautiful movies with happy endings, and now we remember the Disney movies and not the original, often grisly, stories. But that’s not the only reason. I think there’s a nugget of truth in them that we can relate to. Am I right in saying that we have all run into an occasional person whom we could cast as the wicked stepmother/queen/sorceress? We have all encountered betrayal of some kind, been naïve and let a wolf in grandma clothing deceive us, and fallen in “love” at first sight. As girls, many of us dream of marrying a prince, of castles and happily ever afters.

Beauty and the Beast has long been my favorite fairy tale. As a teenager I wrote my own short-story version of Beauty and the Beast. I have no idea where that story is, but I vividly remember writing it. Fifteen years later, after writing The Healer’s Apprentice, I knew I wanted to write more stories based on fairy tales, and Beauty and the Beast was the obvious next choice.

The Merchant’s Daughter is a straight historical—no magic of any kind. I enjoy taking a fanciful fairy tale and trying to make it completely realistic. If Beauty and the Beast was based on a true story, what might that true story have been like? The Merchant’s Daughter is the end result of that thought process.

But what is the essence of the Beauty and the Beast story? A rich “prince” is changed into an ugly beast and must find someone to fall in love with him and break the spell. A beautiful girl does fall in love with him, just in time to save him. If you look at this outline, there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of novels and screenplays that follow this basic story. Maybe the hero isn’t a literal beast, but something has caused him to be emotionally scarred, and only the heroine is able to draw him out of his pain and/or cynicism.

That’s one theme. Another is two people falling in love based not on physical attractiveness, but on inner qualities, a romance based on emotional attraction rather than lust. I think most Christian romances follow this principle. But a Beauty and the Beast story has them fall in love IN SPITE of their physical appearances. Have you ever written—or read—a story that follows this general story line? Probably you have—more than one. But each author puts his or her own spin on the story, so it doesn’t feel cliché or done to death.

Another theme might be inner beauty winning out over physical beauty accompanied by selfishness. Think of the heroine of the story, the beautiful youngest daughter, versus her two selfish sisters who only care about material things. Beauty asked for a simple flower, but the selfish sisters want riches. I love showing a contrast between characters, because a good, noble character always is shown to better advantage by placing him or her next to a selfish, petty character.

I enjoyed exploring the themes of a Beauty and the Beast story in a Medieval setting, specifically, a 14th century English village, and putting my own spin on the story. What about you? Can you pinpoint the plot—or theme—of your favorite fairy tale and find it in books you’ve read—or written?

Thanks so much, Tina, for inviting me to be on Seekerville during your birthday celebration! I feel very honored. And I have two paperback copies of The Merchant’s Daughter (which releases as an e-book in three weeks!) to give away, so everybody please leave a comment


The Merchant’s Daughter

An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice.

Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.

Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger.

Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.


Check out the trailer for The Merchant's Daughter here.


Bio: Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and, in a former life, she was a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. You can connect with her on her website, www.melaniedickerson.com.

284 comments :

  1. Oh gosh I just LOVE fairy tales and Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time faves. I do agree with you that Disney definitely gave fairy tales a mass appeal with all their princess movies but I gotta say that ABC is definitely bringing the darker side back with Once Upon a Time. It's very good and the evil queen is pretty darn scary! That's the nice thing about Seekerville, even before they get some of Helen's coffee in them there are no evil queens here. ;-) I can't wait to read The Merchant's Daughter, I loved the Healer's Apprentice!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  2. Oooo, am I the first??? That would be only because I am up late watching the TEXAS RANGERS go into extra innings in the World Series!

    And I so need my beauty sleep!(I so love to play the part of Sleeping Beauty!)

    Melanie, I can't tell you how excited I am that your medievals are doing so well. I hope it opens the door wide for more in that era! You are awesome!

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  3. Drats! I missed it! And to my Castle-loving-friend!!!!! :)

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  4. Melanie!!!! One of my favorite authors! Okay, I'm a bit biased since my girls loved The Healer's Apprentice and are looking forward to The Merchant's Daughter. ;) It's just so hard to find excellent, clean fiction for the young.

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  5. I'll have to admit that Snow White always got on my nerves. Granted, my favorite Disney movie is The Great Mouse Detective and that's not exactly a romance.

    Wonderful post (though I can't believe you went to Alabama).

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  6. And, yes, I'm up watching the World Series, too.

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  7. I loved the Healer's Apprentice. It was one of the first books I downloaded onto my kindle! Eloisa James has written several books based on Fairy Tales and I find them amusing and clever. It's fascinating to see how authors can transform the old 'standard themes' and make them into their own. Thanks for sharing here, Melanie.

    LyndeeH

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  8. Melly, Melly, Melly! You get the best covers and the best book trailers!!!

    Congratulations!!

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  9. And I'm also watching the World Series, but I don't have a 'horse' in this race. Next year, Cubbies! ;)

    LyndeeH

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  10. Hey, guys!!! I stayed up late too just to see who would be here. :-)

    Hi, RENEE!!! So excited for you to read The Merchant's Daughter!!! Yay! Can't wait to hear what you think of it.

    It has gotten two really amazing reviews on two different blogs in the last two days. Which makes me very happy and helps me put on my armor. (Don't worry, you don't want to know what I mean by that!) It also got a very positive 4-star review from Romantic Times and a positive review from Kirkus, so we're off to a good start, praise God!!!

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  11. Oh, and Melanie, I also love the trailer, and what castle is on your web page?

    LyndeeH

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  12. Oh, Sherrinda! You know it, girl! I am hoping the same thing, that Medievals become really big, and with several out now, like Lisa Bergren's Waterfall and that whole series doing so well, I am believing it is the wave of the future! :-)

    I don't keep up with baseball, but I was always very partial to the Red Sox. But I know Helen loves her some St. Louis Cardinals, so I'll just have to be neutral this year. :-)

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  13. Aw, Christina! You are so sweet!!!

    I agree with you that it's hard to find decent YA's these days! I have a 13-yr-old who LOVES to read, so I know exactly what you mean. I hope your girls like this one. You'll have to let me know. :-)

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  14. Thanks for an interesting post, Melanie.

    i've seen you a lot on Seekerville and am glad to know more about you. Congratulations on your book.

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  15. Ha, Walt!!! You're excused from not liking Snow White! She is a little over the top. I know what you mean. But--and this is a little-known secret--I recently finished a Snow White story that is sort of a sequel to The Healer's Apprentice, with Rose and Wilhelm's son as the hero, and MY Snow White is very tough. She won't get on your nerves. I hope.

    And what do you mean you can't believe I went to Alabama? Going to Alabama is a privilege and an honor. ;-) And where, pray tell, did you go?

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  16. Well, Mel, Texas has never won the World Series before, so I'm thinking you should be a Texan tonight. I don't even like baseball.

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  17. Hi, LyndeeH!!! Thanks so much for the shout out for The Healer's Apprentice! There are actually a lot of secular romances based on the fairy tales. It really is amazing how authors can take the same basic story and embellish it and put twists on it and come up with something completely new. It has been really fun for me as a writer.

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  18. You are SOOOOOO right, Tina!!! I do get the best covers and trailers, and I have to give the credit to Mike Heath. He is the mastermind behind them and they are amazing.

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  19. Thanks so much, Cathy!!! Seekerville is a fun place to hang out, isn't it?

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  20. Thank you, Lyndee, for noticing the castle on my website. There are several on there, a different one for each page, actually. The one on the Home page, I believe, is Malahide Castle in Dublin. I will double check in the morning. I just love castles! Dreamy Sigh.

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  21. Sherrinda, I do love to pull for the underdog! I guess that's why I have loved the Red Sox all these years! Let us know how it turns out. I better get to bed. But I will be back in the morning!

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  22. This is the late-night place to be! Forget about Conan and Jay...and that other guy...

    You can even forget about baseball - Melanie is on Seekerville!

    I love The Healer's Apprentice - I've always loved tales set in the middle ages, and this story has enough historical details to make me glad I didn't live then :)

    Can hardly wait to read The Merchant's Daughter!

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  23. I can't say enough good about Melanie's book, "The Healer's Apprentice". I am not over reacting when I say almost all Disney stories introduce our children to witches, sorcerers, spells, and evil as cutesie little children's stories from the earliest of ages. It is wonderful to have a book that offers the fanciful romantic world with a Christian theme that our daughters can really get into. My daughter is 20 and love, love, loved this book! She can't wait until the next book is released. And I am so happy that the vampires have lost the top billing in our reading list! It takes a special book to win the heart of a teenager, but Melanie has the right touch. And as a person, we love her to pieces! She sets a great example for our girls. ~cherihorgan@hotmail.com

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  24. Hi Melanie,

    I had never heard of medieval romances based on fairy tales. After watching your trailer they sound absolutely charming.

    Please enter me in your draw.

    Jan K.

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  25. I just came back from Switzerland and the castles there look a lot different than the one on your homepage. I don't know much about castles, but I would guess they might look a lot different depending on the building materials available in the vicinity...sorta like the Egyptian pyramids. But the Switzerland castles also seemed to be less broad across. Don't know if that makes sense, lol.

    LyndeeH

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  26. Sorry Sherrinda I'll post later tomorrow. :-P Did your team win?

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  27. Melanie, I think it is remarkable that you could take a fairy tale and turn it into a recreation so wonderful. I'm looking forward to reading your book. I've not been able to pinpoint the plot—or theme—of any fairy tail in books I’ve read. I need to watch and see if I can in the future.
    Thank you for offering two copies of your book to two of us lucky winners of this drawing.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  28. I am so excited that this book is FINALLY out! My sisters and I read The Healers Apprentice and absolutely loved it! When we heard you were coming out with this book we almost cheered, especially since Beauty and the Beast is our favorite! Can't wait to read this and what ever else you write you have a great skill!

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  29. There is definitely something to the fairy tales, I just sat through Cinderella III with my 5 year old because I wanted to, knowing that it couldn't be well done being a straight to video movie.

    I'd talk more, but baby has awakened--story of my life. Ciao

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  30. Oh No! Not two more books I am simply going to have to read! I love fairy tales, the cutsey ones and the long original versions. I know I will love these "based on" books too. If a spiritual message is intertwined, I can't imagine anything better. The trailers were too enticing I will get them some day soon.

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  31. Christina - you said: "It's just so hard to find excellent, clean fiction for the young." I absolutely agree! I'm a quest to find more good clean YA fiction, and hopefully write some too ... :)

    Melanie, I have been searching for some medieval Christian fiction! So thrilled to discover someone is writing in this fascinating time period. And, a YA one as well? Fabulous :) I'm going to have to try and get my hands on both your books!

    Growing up my favourite fairy tale was "The Little Mermaid". The appeal was not only in the handsome prince, but in the new and mysterious world he lived in.

    Later I read the original Hans Christian Andersen version and was quite shocked. All I can remember is that though the little mermaid could walk, it was like stepping on knives ... *shudder*

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  32. Uh, oh. Coffee's late.

    But it's here!!!

    Happy times in Cardinal Country right now. Fancy Melanie understanding that. So maybe she'll forgive the lateness of the coffee. :)

    Melanie, I loved the fairy tales when my kids were home. I even related to them when I taught school. But now that the kids have been gone from home for some time, I don't get the same kick from them. Hope you understand.

    Gotta watch myself some post-game stuff now. And maybe even treat myself to a late night Coke.

    Helen

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  33. Ok, this is one of my favorite topics! I didn't realize that you had such a passion for the fairy tale re-told.
    I love Shannon Hale's 'Goose Girl', probably one of my favorite fairy tales. And I've read an awful lot of the YA fairy tales lately but none really as good as yours or hers. I read 'Tender Morsels' a few months ago and it was... gruesome. I mean, really. I felt ill. I'd heard it was a rough tale, but since 'Snow White, Rose Red' is my favorite, I thought I'd give it a try. I DNF. :P
    Anyhoo, moving on! LOVE the new book cover and the summary! Can't wait to read it!!!
    Oh, and I love Holly Black's 'Valiant' for the love story between Val (human girl) and Ravus (green-skinned troll). Black makes Ravus weird and scary and tender all at the same time. You just can't help falling in love with him!

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  34. "I recently finished a Snow White story that is sort of a sequel to The Healer's Apprentice, with Rose and Wilhelm's son as the hero, and MY Snow White is very tough. She won't get on your nerves. I hope."

    OMGoodness!!! Will Zondervan be publishing this next year, Mrs. Dickerson? "The Healer's Apprentice" was so wonderful --If you all haven't read it, check your local library and if they have it or purchase it for yourself --READ it!

    I can't wait for "The Merchant's Daughter" to release!


    I just watched the pilot of "Once Upon a Time" that my brother taped for me and I really enjoyed it --I hope they don't cancel it!

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  35. Oh my gosh, my very very favorite fairy tale is Beauty & the Beast. I loved it even before Disney made their wonderful version. To me it's a story about beauty being on the inside. I have seen the Broadway show twice (when I lived in California)and Disney's movie twice in theater and I cannot tell you how many times I've watched the video and DVD or watched it on TV.

    My husband & I married later then most (me - 48, him - 50 both our first marriage) and our wedding theme was Beauty & the Beast. Our champagne glasses came from Disneyland and had the characters etched in them with our names on them. Our first dance was Celion Dion;s version of "Tale as Old as Time". Loved it.

    Thank you for the post today. My WIP is loosely based on B & B.

    Would love to win a copy of The Merchant's Daughter.

    Smiled & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  36. I love Castle too. And NCIS.

    Those are my Achilles heels shows. Both so good!

    Melanie, chickie, welcome back! Such a pleasure, I think a fine, proper old-time breakfast is due!

    How about a dish of oatmeal, my dear? With a bit of nuts and raisin, of course.

    And hard toast with a smearing of butter?

    Old Mrs. Comfrey's prune jam. It's good for what ails you, she says.

    And a spot of tea, perchance, m'lady?

    What a pleasure to see you with two books under your belt and who knows what else will come your way????

    Congratulations, lovely lady, and thank you for being in Seekerville today!

    (And I did bring cake, we're doing a peanut butter chocolate cake today, yellow cake filled with peanut butter icing that's swirled with dark chocolate icing (recipe is over on Yankee Belle in the archives) and then we top the cake with the dark chocolate icing, and we pipe peanut butter icing borders around the edges.

    A-stinking-mazing!)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEEKERVILLE!

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  37. So more World Series fun tonight, eh, Texas??????


    Hey, have you ever seen a better match-up????

    Really?

    So many good games?

    I still miss Jeter, but I love me some baseball!

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  38. Congrats, Melanie. I loved your first trailer and this one is every bit as good.

    I really enjoy new versions of old fairy tales, too. We almost missed the pilot for Once Upon a Time because hubby had the remote. At the end of his show, however, our 13 yo son snatched it up and switched to the pilot. I wished we'd taped the first hour because it was a bit confusing, but we soon caught up to the storyline. Can't wait for next week.

    And can't wait for The Merchant's Daughter, Melanie. You won't need your armour with me.

    Anita Mae.

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  39. I do love fairy tales as well. Beauty and the Beast is also one of my fav's along with Cinderella. Your cover is intriguing--and so is the blurb. Nice!!

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  40. Melanie, I look forward to your Snow White story.

    And I graduated from Auburn. :-)

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  41. Jan! You are so right! This is the late night place to be. I always wish I could stay up late enough to join the midnight party, but I'm really not a night owl, especially since I have to get my kids up for school so early!

    I hope you like the new book! The Kirkus reviewer said the historical details were "meticulous," maybe even more so than The Healer's Apprentice. Hopefully you will fee like you are in the Middle Ages when you read it! And be glad you have a flushable toilet when you're not reading it! LOL

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  42. Cheri, sweetheart!!! Thank you for the kind words! You and Stevie are a such a blessing to me. You're right. The Healer's Apprentice doesn't play around with evil! I call it what it is! :-)

    I do so want to be an encouragement and a light to teen girls. It is such a "mine field" time of life. I have a heart for that age group, and I really want to show them how to step around those mines! Although I don't necessarily focus on that when I'm plotting, I think it comes out anyway. God is so good that way.

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  43. Thank you, Janet! I love fairy tales, and I love the Medieval time period, so it seemed a natural combination. I love making them "real."

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  44. Lyndee, you are exactly right. Each European country had their own architectural style when it came to building castles, and they did use the materials they had at had, which influenced the colors. You are so lucky to have been able to see some up close and personal! Did you tour any?

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  45. Thank you, Pamela J! Have you seen the movie Penelope? It's one of my favorites and has a lot of the same themes of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and it's a sort of "Ugly Duckling" story too. I've read some romances with that theme, where the girl starts out very awkward and unattractive and transforms into a beauty in the story, wowing the hero before it's over!

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  46. I gotta go make breakfast for the family, and get my kids off to school. I'll be back!!!

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  47. Good morning!

    Melanie, I love the animated Beauty and the Beast! And, I actually really like the tv series made in the 80's (I think) based on the story. I don't watch it much, though-- too sad.

    I saw the commercials for the new series Once Upon a Time and Grimm. Am I alone in thinking they're way dark? Same with Snow White. Gives me the willies. Even the animated one was creepy to me. lol.

    But I understand this post, and whatever you are doing is working, Melanie! People love your books!

    Whitney

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  48. Melanie,

    Fabulous book trailor! Can't wait to read "The Merchant's Daughter." Beauty and Beast has always been a favorite. I even have Christmas decorations from Disney in that theme, just love it!

    --Kirsten

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  49. Hi Melanie,

    It's so great to see your second book cover. Many congratulations!

    Beauty and the Beast is definately my favorite Disney movie. But look at how many movies are based on the Cinderella theme, Maid in Manhattan, Pretty Woman...the list goes on and on.

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  50. MELANIE! I totally agree -- the classic fairy tales capture our hearts--and their essence translates very well to modern-day readers. Your next release looks to be another wonderful story--with yet another gorgeous cover! CONGRATS!

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  51. Emergency prayer requested. Well, it's not that big of an emergency, but my 9-yr-old has a slight fever. Please say a prayer for her to get well! Her volleyball team is in the championship game tonight! She has to get well for that. If not, it will be very sad. :-( She is a very good server, even though she's only nine.

    I'm keeping her home from school. Pray she gets well before tonight! Her name is Faith.

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  52. Abbi! Thank you, girl! The official release date is Nov. 18, so only about three more weeks! I still don't even have ARCs yet, but hopefully will get them soon! I can't wait to hear what you think of it!!!

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  53. Hey, Melissa! Yeah, it's kind of fun to relive childhood just a little bit through our kiddos. That's how I got the idea for The Healer's Apprentice, watching Sleeping Beauty with my little girls!

    Give the baby a kiss for me!

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  54. Yay, Mary! So happy to entice you. :-) Zondervan hired freelancer Mike Heath to do my covers and trailers, and he is amazing.

    You sound like me. I can't resist any versions of the fairy tales.

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  55. Melanie, what a great post. :) I only have a couple of minutes right now, but wanted to say that I have never reall thought to look for fairy tale themes (i.e. the Beauty and the Beast theme) in the books I'm reading. Silly, huh? As I read your words, I saw one of those themes in the novel I'm currently reading. Very fun! You've expanded my thoughts as far as the story I'm writing too. Thanks!

    Hoping to be back later on today. :)

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  56. Let's try to remember. Reviews are good. But God is in charge. Repeat that ten times!!


    You are called to write these awesome books!

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  57. Helen W, I'm so glad you love Medievals too! It's not easy to find a Christian Medieval novel, I agree, but I love the time period. It was a natural genre for me to write.

    Disney really prettied up the fairy tales for us, didn't they? The originals are pretty harsh and even gory.

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  58. Hi, Helen!!! Thanks for making coffee! I don't actually drink coffee, but I know a lot of people here can't wake up without it, so bring it on!

    Congrats on your Cardinals winning. :-)

    And I understand if fairy tales aren't your thing, but a lot of people have commented that they didn't know my first book was based on a fairy tale, or didn't recognize the Sleeping Beauty story in it. Basically, I think of my books as historical romances that were inspired by a certain fairy tale. So if you like historical romance, you might like them.

    It was so good to get to talk for a little bit at the conference last month!!! Hugs!

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  59. Hi, Virginia! I've enjoyed some of Shannon Hale's books too. I think my favorite fairy tale retelling is the first one I read, Beauty by Robin McKinley. I didn't even know it was a genre when I started writing The Healer's Apprentice. There is a Sleeping Beauty retelling by Orson Scott Card called Enchantment, and it is quite good, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for teens. I'll have to check out Valiant.
    Thanks!!!

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  60. I so do love fairy tales, and stories similar to fairy tales and The Merchants Daughter sounds like a winner!! Great post Melanie! Can't wait to read your latest novel!! Sounds like a real page turner!

    -Amanda
    amandabarratt33@gmail.com

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  61. Hi, Lady DragonKeeper!!! Thanks so much for coming by! I so appreciate you! And you're right. If you haven't read The Healer's Apprentice, check with your local library. If they don't have it and you request it, oftentimes they will order it and you can be the first one to check it out! Right about now is when the libraries around here are deciding what new books to order, and I love to get my books in libraries! I'm a huge fan of libraries myself.

    And I agree. Once Upon a Time was pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. I'm not quite sure where they're going with the story, and I'm curious. And the prince is pretty cute. He shows up again this week, even though it looked like he died last week. Ah, the magic of fiction.

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  62. Wow! What an inspiring blog. Your new book sounds like a must-read. Can't wait to get my hands on it!

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  63. MEL!!!!!!!!!! Gosh, I missed seeing you at ACFW, girl, so you best be planning on next year, my friend, capiche?

    LOVED The Healer's Apprentice and am pretty sure I will love The Merchant's Daughter as well, so cannot wait to dive in ... ESPECIALLY after that video!!

    Excellent blog, but I have to say two words jumped out at me and hit me between the eyes: EMOTIONAL ATTRACTION. As an author who bases most of her novels on physical attraction first (for the guys anyway), emotional attraction second, these two words grabbed me by the throat because they are SO powerful.

    One of the best examples I can give is Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion trilogy, about an unattractive and very plain Jewish slave girl scarred by the lion's den who eventually (it's a slow process because that's the truth of it with emotional attraction -- it takes LOTS of time) captures the heart of the handsome son of the family who owns her. WOW ... what a powerful story and what an incredible job Francine did taking a nondescript heroine from homely to beautiful by the time the story came to an end, and the only thing that changed was the hero's perception.

    Believe it or not, I had hoped to do a similar thing with my latest release, A Heart Revealed, where the heroine Emma Malloy is a physically and emotionally scarred married woman whose inner beauty so captures the hero, he has no choice but to fall in love with her. But ... with emotional attraction, the process is a LOT slower and consequently, so is the story until the friendship finally ripens into the fragile flame of love and attraction (unlike my other books where there's no ripening ... just a 4th of July finale right off the bat).

    Even though I tend to be more of a Gone With the Wind sparks-right-off-the-bat type of gal, I have to admit there's a lot of appeal in the emotional love affair. I mean, come on, what movie offers better proof of that than Shrek? :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  64. Cindy, you sound like a kindred spirit! I always loved Beauty and the Beast too, and even wrote my own version when I was a teen. Love the themes of beauty within, and the Kirkus reviewer, who made it clear he/she didn't care for my Christian themes, said The Merchant's Daughter "pulses with suppressed sexuality." I thought, Wow! What a cool thing for a secular reviewer to say! LOL!!! I just a couple of weeks ago read an article about the themes of Beauty and the Beast, and supposedly, suppressed sexuality is one of the themes. Who knew? But I promise it is very spiritual too. ;-)

    But truly, it is mind boggling what some reviewers say about my books. People sometimes see things in them that I never intended. But that's a post for another day!

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  65. Oh, Cindy W., I meant to say, congrats on finding your true love and having a wonderful Beauty and the Beast themed wedding! Sounds wonderful!

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  66. I've enjoyed some of the recent movie remakes of Cinderella. Can't remember their names or much details, but I always liked the one with Drew Berrymore. (Or was she in both of them? Oh, well.)

    Melanie, I have Healer's Apprentice on my Kindle, and I hope to get to it soon. Good to know that The Merchant's Daughter is coming out soon. I'll add it to my list. I've never been a big fan of the Disney movie of B&B, but I'm eager to see how you've handled it. I think taking fairy tales and turning them into a real story is a fascinating idea.

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  67. I just realized I forgot to address what Lady DragonKeeper said about my Snow White book!!! Yes, I am hoping hoping hoping it will have a 2012 release date, but I don't know yet. Say a prayer!

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  68. Hey, Mel, saying one RIGHT NOW for your little one AND the championship.

    And speaking of championship!! How 'bout those Cards??? I'm not particularly a sports freak, but my husband, daughter and son are psycho when it comes to it, especially BASEBALL, so needless to say they are among the euphoric St. Louis crowd tonight. Gosh, NOBODY expected them to win and it was SO obvious a number of times that Texas had the champagne uncorked and ready to go with good reason that when the Cards did win, they looked like little boys out there, jumping and pulling and going crazy. Soooo fun to watch!!

    Gosh, my heart goes out to the Texas fans but last night sure felt good in St. Loo!

    Go, Cards!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  69. Hey, Ruthy, you sweetheart, you!!! Thanks for the hot oatmeal! It turned cold down here in the Deep South last night, so I'll also take some hot tea. I learned to love the stuff when I spent a year in Ukraine. A cold Ukrainian winter will teach to love hot tea if anything will!

    Oh my goodness, did you say dark chocolate? Peanut butter chocolate cake with peanut butter icing swirled with dark chocolate! (I saw "dark chocolate" and had to read closer.) YUM!!! I will have to go over to the Yankee Belle Cafe and snag that recipe! Mmmmmmm

    Ruthy, you'll have to come to Alabama in the fall. I'll introduce you to football, and you'll forget all about baseball! LOL! Well, no, I don't think Ruthy could ever forget about baseball! Or Derek Jeter, for sure!

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  70. Thank you, affordable seo! Thanks for stopping by!

    Does everybody know, I am giving away two copies of The Merchant's Daughter today? So keep leaving comments!

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  71. SHERRINDA SAID: "Well, Mel, Texas has never won the World Series before, so I'm thinking you should be a Texan tonight."

    I gotta tell you that I LOVE Texas and Texans!! If I hadn't been born in the Midwest, I wish I'd been born in Texas, seriously.

    And, Sherrinda, I'm with you on the Rangers getting a shot at the win even though I live in Cardinal country because the Cards have won the most world series after the Yankees and Texas has never won, so I'd say they are MORE than due. But trust me, I can't say that out loud in my household ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  72. Thank you, Anita Mae! You are a true friend! I'll be watching the next installment of Once Upon a Time with you this week! And I am so not a TV watcher. I practically never watch TV. But leave it to a fairy tale story to break my habit of only watching DVD movies at night.

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  73. Oh Melanie!!! YAY!!
    So glad to 'see' you.
    And I love your themes. I love Fairy tale themes.
    I watched the premier of Once Upon a Time and it was pretty interesting...definitely not Disney ;-)

    Don't you think most books in some way or other play off of the central themes of classics? We just put our 'spin' on them?

    The Merchant's Daughter sounds like it's going to be a fantastic story. I can't wait to get my hands on it! The cover is magnificent!

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  74. Lindi, Thank you! And I do have a Cinderella story in the works! You Seekerville people are practically the first to know. :-) It is a sequel to the Snow White story, and the hero is the first son of Rose and Wilhelm. He is my first real Alpha male hero, a real man's man, who loves fighting in the tournaments and never loses a jousting match or a sword fight. But he's about to lose his heart! Mwahahaha!!!!!!!!

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  75. I don't mind Snow White - but I just can't stand the disney version's shaky voice Snow White.

    Love Aurora's voice, though. No wonder Philip had to follow the sound to find her ;-)

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  76. Ohmygosh!!! WALT is an AUBURN fan!!!!! I won't hold it against you, Walt. :-) Actually, I'm not a rabid Alabama fan, although it's impossible for me not to enjoy watching them win game after game after game. LOL!!! I live in Alabama, after all, graduated from UA, grew up watching football at my daddy's knee, and he was a true Alabama fan and loved Bear Bryant. (What's not to love?) But I do dislike the way some people practically make a religion out of Alabama football. It kind of disgusts me, to be honest.

    Auburn is a great school, after all. The second best in the state! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

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  77. Oh my goodness, Whitney!!! I loved that Beauty and the Beast TV show when I was a teen. I was practically obsessed with it. I don't think I watched much of the last season though. I was already living away from home at college by then. Anybody else remember that show?

    Yes, I agree that most of the fairy tale retellings are really dark. I don't like dark for dark's sake. If they get too dark, I won't read/watch them. I like to think The Merchant's Daughter has a bit of a gothic feel, but not really dark.

    Thanks for your comments, Whitney!

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  78. YES!! I've seen the movie Penelope but hadn't connected it with the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Thanks for the reminder. I think Julie mentioned Shrek also. Didn't catch that one either. Well, I better wake up. Thanks for those movie names, girls. I needed that.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  79. Thanks, Kristen! The book trailer is good. But I did think the blood splattering was a little bit over the top! LOL! There's nothing like that in the book. But it definitely catches the eye, and the ear. I hope you enjoy the book! You'll have to let me know what you think of it.

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  80. Hey, Rose! Yes, there are a lot of Cinderella stories! But I never get tired of seeing a new twist on it. Thanks so much for the congrats! I love seeing YOUR cover too, you published author, you!

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  81. Thanks so much, Glynna! The fairy tales are so much fun, whether it's a modern setting or a medieval one. God bless your writing!

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  82. Awesome, Jeanne! I'm glad the post made you think about the themes in your reading AND your writing! Hope to see more of you later today!

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  83. Sorry, Tina. I slipped up and read some reviews. But in my defense, they were emailed to me!!! I had to read them, didn't I?

    Who am I kidding? I can't resist reading them.

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  84. Thank you, Amanda! Would love to hear what you think of it after you read it! There's just something about those fairy tales. And you are entered in the drawing, of course! Have a great day.

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  85. I can't tell if some of y'all stay up late or get up early! Look at those posting times!

    Ruth, I love castles too! And by the way, I'll take some of that Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake. Sounds rich! Must go to Yankee-Belle and check it out.

    Melanie, your book sounds great! Would love to read it. Love that cover!

    plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  86. Thanks so much, Annie! I love writing these books, what can I say! I love my job!!! So thankful I get to do this fun, rewarding thing called writing novels.

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  87. I would love to have a copy of The Merchant's Daughter. As an avid historical fan, I find the plot moving. Your cleverness in weaving the suspense, her secret, as well as the Beauty and the Beast theme give a fresh tantalizing approach to the romantic genre.

    Lately, I've been reading novels my highschool son has brought home, such as Out Stealing Horses, Mentamorphosis, A Separate Peace. All great authors with great writing, but like Steinbeck who shoots the Red Pony in the first chapter, they tend to be gloomy.

    There is a recession, and I am craving a book like yours. In fact, I'm going to get out my kindle and order your The Healer's Apprentice today. I need to be uplifted. I want to be happy.

    By your writing and your background, it is clearly evident you have a good heart. It comes shining through. There must be tremendous love in your household.

    Thank you for the honor and pleasure in taking the time to share some of your work and insights with Seekerville.

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  88. GOOD morning Melanie!

    Congratulations on following God's call for YOUR life and the success that has followed!!!

    You're a wonderful example to us all. :)

    Love this: Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

    In the hands of a skilled author such as yourself (and the Seekers), tales are masterfully woven to lead the reader to conclude that these are often one in the same.

    Yes please - would love to read your next work. I thoroughly enjoyed the first! may at maythek9spy dot com

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  89. Julie, Julie, Julie. You DID see me at the conference this year! LOL! I saw you the first day and you were frantically trying to find the people you were meeting for lunch, so I don't blame you for not remembering! I wish so much that we could have talked more, but you are so popular, I'm sure you barely had time to breathe the whole conference!

    The main thing I regret about the conference is that I missed your fabulous workshop that you did with the amazingly talented Ruth Axtell Morren. I am her biggest fan. Did she tell you that? It's true. And Julie, you know I'm a huge fan of yours too, but you have so many "biggest fans" that I can't claim that status for you! But I heard your workshop was just the best, and I do hate I missed it. I am hoping I can download it and listen to it some time.

    Julie, darling, I love the emotional attraction aspect. Love it. And that is definitely a big part (I hope) of my new book. But I have to tell you this, and I think you will appreciate it-- in my Kirkus review--keep in mind this is a secular publication--the only negative things the reviewer said was about the Christianity in the book, and he/she said it "pulses with suppressed sexuality." So I think you will like it, Julie! LOL!!! ;-)

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  90. Sally, so glad you stopped by! Thank you for downloading The Healer's Apprentice. I hope you will enjoy it.

    There were some things I didn't like about the Beauty and the Beast movie too. I always thought the beast was too harsh, and there was no gradual progression of their feelings. But I recently saw the musical, and they rectify that with extra scenes in which they get to know each other, and they gradually fall in love. There's a lot more chemistry on stage than in that animated movie, too, let me tell you! LOL!

    Oh, and the Cinderella movie you're thinking of is Ever After. I think I need to rewatch that, since I can't remember anything about it except that it has Drew Barrymore. (I spelled that wrong, didn't I?)

    Thanks for coming by, Sally!

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  91. Melanie, I loved The Healer's Apprentice and can't wait to read The Merchant's Daughter.

    Have you seen the movie "Enchanted?" It's based on several Disney fairy tales.

    Did I mention I'm from LA (lower Alabama)?

    Although Clint Moseley, one of Auburns quarterbacks, lives just down the road from me, I must say...ROLL TIDE!

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  92. Thanks for the prayer, Julie, my sweet friend! You are such a great pray-er. I admire you so much!!! I don't tell you that enough, I think. ;-) You are one of my heroes.

    It is so fun to pull for the underdog. But you don't know psycho fans until you spend a fall football season in Alabama. It is insane. I was always an Alabama fan, but in my later years, I have gotten kind of turned off to it! To be honest. But I still can't help but cheer for the Crimson Tide. It's part of my heritage, I guess. :-)

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  93. Prayers for Faith so the fever goes away, and she's ready for the big game tonight!

    Mel, congrats on your success! Your stories are timeless...just as the fairy tales are on which you base your books. God is using you in so many, beautiful ways!

    My favorite fairy tale? Sleeping Beauty! Love it! Now how can I weave that classic into a Military Investigations story? Hmmmmm? I'm thinking...

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  94. Cindy W...

    You and hubby ARE a fairy tale come true! Thanks for sharing a bit about your special love story.

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  95. Thank you, Pepper!!! I hope you like the new book. Yes, I do think there are a lot of recurring themes from the old classic stories, and sometimes we don't even realize it. But it's fun to deliberately follow the old plot and put new twists on it.

    It's good to see you too, as always, my friend!!! Hugs!

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  96. Pam, yes, Penelope reminds me somewhat of Beauty and the Beast. I LOVE the ending where the guy kisses her--so heartfelt!--and then she takes off the mask and he is startled to see her with a beautifully transformed face. He would have married her with the pig nose because he loved her! That is a sweet movie, and I can even let my kids watch it, and they love it too. I just rewatched it for about the fifth time.

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  97. Hi, Patsy! Thank you! Castles are wonderfully romantic, I think. Thanks for coming by. Have a wonderful day!

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  98. I love historicals. Your books are on my must read list.
    Speaking of fairy tales, I have twin girls that love and adore all the Disney princesses. A few years ago we took them to Disney world. Of course we had to go to get their pictures taken with the princesses. One of my girls was so star struck she was speechless. The actresses... er I mean Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the gang tried to get her to talk but she was too overwhelmed. It's a cute family memory that I'm sure her brother and sister won't let her forget.

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  99. I don't know why that shows me as anonymous. I'm signed in... it's me Jamie Adams :)

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  100. Thanks so much, Elizabeth!!! You sound like a pretty wonderful person yourself! I hope you will let me know what you think of The Healer's Apprentice. It is a very happy book. :-) At least, at the end it is! I don't believe in sad endings!!! I'm strictly a happily ever after person. Because frankly, if you're a Christian, you know the ending is a happy one, and I believe in making my books reflect that! And yes, it is a very hard time. There is a recession going, our men fighting a war in Afghanistan and other places, and it is just really good to escape into a happy place for a few hours.

    God bless you! Have a great day!

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  101. This sounds like an awesome book Melanie! I would love to win a copy to read.
    Blessings.....Joy
    ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com

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  102. Thank you so much, KC!!! You are always a ray of sunshine, girlfriend! Hope you are having a wonderful morning.

    You know, I didn't even realize it while writing it or even editing, but I realize now that I revisited one of the same themes from The Healer's Apprentice in The Merchant's Daughter. God has a plan for all of us, and it is a good plan. Sometimes we can't see what it is, but He gently leads us in the right direction, and we find what we were looking for all along. God is good!!!

    Keep up the good work of writing, Karen, and take care of May! Love ya!

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  103. I just get SO EXCITED when I visit blogs and caught up in the chats about all these neat books. I JUST put your name on my "get all this author's books" list. I can hardly wait till it's my turn to sit down with your books!!
    I was even talking to my husband about the blogs and today the first thing he said was, "Gentlemen, allow me to set the record straight." Remember that sentence from Ever After? We LOVE that movie too.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms (at) wb4me (dot) com

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  104. Melanie...I just love your story's premise:) I love fairy tales and Beauty and the Beast is one of the best!
    I would love to be entered for a chance to win "The Merchant's Daughter."

    Lorna

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

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  105. Bridgett!!! Do you know how many times I meet someone from LA--Lower Alabama? Like, NEVER! So glad to see you, and I will second that ROLL TIDE! :-)

    I love Enchanted! That is a really cute movie. Even though it's sort of silly, I love the complete innocence of the heroine, and how she falls for the cynical, modern-day lawyer hero, Patrick Dempsey. I love the scene where she experiences anger for the first time and shouts at the hero that all he ever says is No! LOL!

    Are we friends on facebook, Bridgett? Please do friend me. There's a link to my facebook page on my blog, melaniewrites.blogspot.com. I want to know exactly where you're from! We need to talk. :-)

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  106. MELLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    9:15 Central and over 100 comments?!?!?!

    You are one popular girl!

    I'm on the influencer list for this one and CAN'T WAIT!!!

    So so so so so glad we got to meet at ACFW.

    I've scanned through the comments.

    And the Cards were 10.5 games out in mid-August. They weren't supposed to make the playoffs much less the Series.

    Ya gotta love it.

    Julie - I can't believe you! You live THAT CLOSE to St. Louis and you're willing to root for the Rangers? I may have to email Keith about this.

    Matt was at the game last night. Didn't get home until about 430. Said he's never hugged so many strangers in his life. He ALMOST got to go tonight too but doesn't look like he will [unless something changes in the next hour - part of me wants to hope that our friend and his wife can't go for some reason and they give us BOTH tickets so I could go too - because as much as I love Matt, I'm not sure I like him too much at the moment ;)].

    I've got massive amounts of house cleaning to do today. I am feeling much better - thanks to all of you for your kinds words and whispered prayers.

    Off to clean...

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  107. Thanks so much, sweet Debby, for the prayers for Faith. Her temp is down by two-tenths of a degree. That's something, right? Hoping it will keep going down. I suspect she either has a cold or strep, since her throat is hurting. I'm so hoping it isn't strep! If it is, I really need to get her to the doctor. :-(

    Thank you so much for your sweet words. :-) You are such an encourager. It is very obvious that that is one of your gifts, and obviously another one is writing! And I'm sure you can figure out a way to incorporate Sleeping Beauty into a military investigation book. Just because it's never been done doesn't mean you shouldn't!!! ;-)

    HUGS!

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  108. Anonymous, thanks for sharing that cute story about your daughter! Don't you just love girls? So much fun!!!

    I hope you will get a chance to read my books. I really think of them more as historical romances than as anything else.

    God bless!

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  109. Ooops! Jamie! Not Anonymous! :-) Thanks so much for commenting! I bet your kids are precious!!!

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  110. Thank you, Joy!!! I hope you get a chance to read it! If you don't win today, request it at your library! Big fan of libraries and librarians!

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  111. That's so cute, Pam, that your husband quotes movie lines to you! My girls and I do that. Can you believe my 13 and 9 year-old girls love watching Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility over and over with me? And they also love the fairy tale stuff, like Penelope and Enchanted and Ever After. I am such a blessed mom!!! :-)

    You'll have to let me know what you think of my books. I have a contact page on my website where you can email me! Have a blessed day, Pam!

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  112. Hi, Lorna! Thanks so much for stopping by and putting your name in the drawing! Have a blessed day!

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  113. Melanie, I have a daughter who's a college graduate no less, who is still obsessed with Disney princesses! That just happens to be her thing! She's a teacher now and has her own apt. but she just happens to love Cinderella, etc. I think in this crazy world, sometimes it's nice to just have a little "innocence" around us!

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  114. Melanie, I am sooooo excited for The Merchant's Daughter release. December right? Perfect time for a book to come out since it's sure to be on everyone's Christmas wish list!

    I've always loved fairy tale retellings. There's something comforting in the familiarity of some parts of the story and it's always exciting to see how an author creates something fresh and new out of a timeless classic.

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  115. Hey, Carol, my friend!!! Thank you for being you! You are awesome. :-) But I'm afraid you may have given my daughter your sickies. :-( Although, I'm not sure germs can carry that far that fast. Glad you're feeling better! Say a prayer for my little girl. She has a volleyball championship game tonight! I so hate for her to miss it.

    Sounds like Matt had a wonderful time at the game! Is that your hubby? He has to take you tonight! It's only fair.

    Can't wait to hear what you think of my new book!!! EEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!!!

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  116. Hey, Valri! Your daughter sounds like someone I would really like!!! :-) It is a harsh world and some happily ever after is just what we need every now and then.

    Thanks for coming by! Have a lovely day!

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  117. Not only is she giving away 2 books but this is the last day to get your name in the draw for the KINDLE TOUCH. And there are only three more days to get in the drawing for the Toshiba Netbook.

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  118. Kav!!! It comes out in THREE WEEKS! November 18th. I can't wait for you to read it. You know you have to tell me what you think!!! You awesome librarian, you!

    Have a blessed day, girl!

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  119. I loooove Penelope! If you haven't seen it..go now and watch. I also like Lady Hawke. Another mythical romance.

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  120. Yes that's hubby.

    And I only had a headache. A bad one but no temp germs. You can't blame me ;).

    The tickets technically belong to a friend/former boss. The owner of our local Chick-fil-A does a lot of catering etc with the Springfield Cardinals so he gets tickets through them somehow. They were sitting with or just behind the Cardinals friends/family section :D.

    Trying to get my Phoenix Rattler entry ready /sigh/. 100 word synopsis? Really? It's optional and not sure it's worth all the cutting ;).

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  121. Ooo, Tina, am I in the drawing for the Kindle Touch and the netbook too??? :-)

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  122. MELANIE!!!! Eeeeeek! So glad to see you on here, girlfriend! And I'm so excited Merchant's Daughter is out!!!! PLEASE put me in the drawing! You are definitely on my favorite author list. :D LOVE you writing!

    I'm running like a chicken without a head today. I hope to check back in at some point, but... I just pray I SURVIVE the day! LOL (((hugs)))

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  123. Tina, I need to watch Lady Hawke again. It's been a long time since I watched that, but I remember I loved it.

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  124. I never tire of seeing what someone can do with a dearly loved fairy tale to make it brand new. I enjoy a modern twist or just a good ole redo!

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  125. Linnette!!! So great to see you, girl! Thanks for your kind words! And sorry about the headless chicken day!!! I understand. I hate being that busy, but it makes it nice when you do get a break--or a writing day, as I call it! There are no breaks, just writing days! :-) Saying a prayer that you have a great day!!!

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  126. Carol, that is great! I bet there is such an atmosphere of excitement in St. Louis right now!

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  127. Melanie,

    So wonderful to see you here! I agree completely about fairy tales - they've gotten a bad rap by some people, but I think they tell universal truths. The themes are what makes them so appealing (just ask Stan Williams - "The Moral Premise")!

    Love the trailer for your new book. The actors are so perfect. That hero looks yummy even with scars!!

    I'd love a chance to win a copy!

    Have a great Friday everyone!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  128. Me too, Donna!!! Bring on the twisted fairy tales! Although, I don't like them to be TOO twisted. :-)

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  129. P.S. Hope your daughter gets better for tonight. From one volleyball mom to another. My daughter isn't playing any more but she went to the nationals last year with her rep team. Awesome setter!!

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  130. Thank you, Susan!!! I agree about the universal themes. And I also agree about the actors in my trailer. :-) Gotta love a scarred hero. And I finally let my 13-yr-old daughter read Merchant's Daughter and she said something about my hero being "hot." Besides the fact that I'm having a hard time getting used my tomboy daughter suddenly using that word to describe boys, I was surprised she said that about Ranulf. I said, Yeah, but what about the scars and the disfigured hand? She said that didn't matter. He was still hot.

    LOL! :-)

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  131. That's so cool, Susan! Volleyball is fun to watch. Especially as they get older and better and better. My older daughter never hesitates to dive for the ball. She is an all-out kind of girl! She has made some amazing shots. Not that I'm biased or anything.

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  132. Hope your daughter's temp continues to go down, Melanie!

    I watched Lady Hawke for the first time a few months ago and loved it. My dear husband, the sci-fi/fantasy reader, saw it when it first came out in 1985. Where was I? At home with a small child, of course:) We were both doing our favorite things.

    Carol - I'm getting my Phoenix Rattler submission ready, too. I'm foregoing the synopsis, though. If I put it in, I'd have to cut out an important part of my 10 pages to give it room.

    Did I hear someone say cake? I haven't had breakfast yet...

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  133. Melanie, thanks for the fantastic post! I'm so excited about this new book!! I love books based on fairytales and know this will be another great one!

    Once again, you have an amazing cover. They do an outstanding job.

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  134. Wonderful post, Melanie! I love fairy tales, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites. Can't wait to read your new book! :-)

    dancerchick(at)cimexico(dot)org

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  135. Melanie,

    You're such a dear. And another exclamation point girl!!! YAY Julie!!! YAY Melanie!!!!
    and !!!!!!!!!!
    (bwwaahahahahhahaaa)

    Keep up the good work of writing, Karen, and take care of May! Love ya!

    You too lady! And believe me, May takes care of me! She's a treasure. You and your girls and we need to plan a road trip to meet in the middle some time. Would be WAY fun!

    And Tina - OH MY YES. Lady Hawke. One of my faves (except that very last scene with Michelle staggering up the aisle - didn't care so much for that...) And Matthew B's character?! ACK. Love it! Really, I loved most everything about it. And wawzah - Goliath. What a horse!

    Y'all stay dry. It's POURING here in TN and I hear snow in the Northeast! Ruthy & Missy, you girls get the goodies ready, lots of chilled customers today! ;D

    and now... on to Chapter 11 of May's travels to Paris!

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  136. HI Melanie,

    A wonderful posting....and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is one of my favourite fairy tales.

    Thanks for the chance to read you latest novel.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  137. OOH - and special sniffs and greetings to your sick girl, from May! Hope she's better soon!

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  138. Hi, Jan!!! You made it back! Good luck to you and Carol!!! I used to love entering contests. Exciting and terrifying at the same time! LOL

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  139. Thank you, dear Missy!!! You are sweet! I hope you enjoy the new story! Is it cold in Georgia too? Hoping we'll get another white Christmas!

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  140. Jan - my next stopping point would have put me over the 10 page limit anyway.

    Just submitted it. Not as nerve wracking as say Genesis or Golden Heart [that's next week] but still...

    MELLIE!!! I do hope you know I love you, darlin'! Any idea when the influencer copies are getting mailed out? CANNOT wait! Need to remind my friend that she's getting one too [since I think she gave you her in-law's addy b/c they were moving at least once between the time you asked for names and now].

    Think I need to have a baseball themed dinner tonight. Not sure what to have though. Except funnel cakes. They're not really MLB food, but yummy nonetheless. Gotta figure this out.

    And clean. Because I haven't done any of that yet...

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  141. Thank you, Angela!!! It was great to see you again in St. Louis last month!!! God bless your writing!

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  142. Melanie, this is simply fascinating! I've always been a sucker for a good fairy tale, and it's true--the best ones reflect important moral truths. Even more than the basic "good vs. evil" theme, these stories can paint extremely convicting portraits of our human nature.

    I'm definitely intrigued by this new TV series, "Once Upon a Time." When they announced it was being developed by the same people who did "Lost," I knew I had to watch it!

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  143. KC, it's pouring here too!!! I'm just sitting here watching Ever After (yes, I really am) with my little sick girl. Having a fun time in spite of all. :-) Enjoying time with the Seekers and friends.

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  144. Thanks, Karenk! You are in the drawing. Have a wonderful day.

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  145. Tina, I loved Lady Hawke when I saw it in the theater (many years ago!). I haven't watched it in years. May have to consider renting it. :)

    Ruthy, your cake sounds decadent!

    Hmmm, twisted fairy tales.....when I was a teacher many years back, I did a whole theme on the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, told from the Wolf's POV. I turned it into a theme teaching about our justice system. It was great fun. Now to think about ways to make some fun, creative twists for a modern day story.....Those juices are flowing. Of course, the coffee and the cake are a great help.

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  146. Carol, I think the ARCs will be going out any day now. (If they are going to call them "advanced" then they have to come out very soon!!!) And I did get your friend's new address!

    Happy cleaning! Although I think that's an oxy moron.

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  147. Myra said about fairy tales: "the best ones reflect important moral truths. Even more than the basic "good vs. evil" theme, these stories can paint extremely convicting portraits of our human nature."

    Very well said, Myra!!! I never watched Lost, but I'm enjoying anticipating the next episode! If it gets too dark, though, I'll stop watching. Have a great day!!! Hope it's a writing day!

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  148. Here's the link for the pilot of Once Upon A Time on ABC. You can watch it on your computer.

    Once Upon A Time

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  149. Jeanne, thanks for coming back by!!! It's fun teaching great children's books. Kids enjoy them so much, and they so appreciate a teacher who is enthusiastic about books and reading! God bless you!

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  150. Welcome Melanie! What a thought-inspiring post today--thank you! I have always loved the classic Fairy Tales--in fact, my husband used to call me "Cinderella" because he said that I believed everyone should live "happily ever after"! (and I still do *smile*). I would have to say Sleeping Beauty has always been my very favorite (I still have the book I had as a child and was always fascinated by the illustrations in it). ~ How wonderful your first book was a Christy finalist! And this next one sounds very intriguing. ~ Thanks again for your post today, and I've brought along some Georgia Pecan Pralines to share (not homemade, but still YUMMY!). Blessings, Patti Jo :)

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  151. Melanie, I am so anxious to read your book....please count me in. After reading your post and all the comments today, I am sure it will be a great read! Thanks!

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  152. Oh my gosh Whitney and Melanie I LOVED the Beauty and the Beast TV series. It starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Pearlman!!!! I didn't watch it when it first came out because I was like 2 but I just discovered it last year and watched almost the entire series in 2 months flat. Ugh man that was good TV!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  153. Melanie I cannot WAIT for this book. I've read just enough of it to be drying for the rest. It sound wonderful.

    I'm trying to think of a fairy tale in my books. I suppose Calico Canyon is almost Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

    And Belle Tanner is a twisted Sleeping Beauty. At least to the extent that Silas 'awakened' her with a kiss. :)

    I like the twist on Beauty and the Beast where the beast isn't truly physically ugly, he's just a groucy beast of a human being and needs to be cheered up.

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  154. Melanie, I like your cover, and if you haven't seen Beastly (2010 Movie) you'd probably like it a lot. I liked it more than I thought I would, because I'm a sucker for a tortured hero (they're in all my books, LOL) and Beauty and the Beast, well, that's a pretty clear connection. =)

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  155. p.s. Praying for your daughter, Melanie--sure hope she's better SOON. ~ And I just saw all that FOOD that Ruthy brought--oh my! And Helen...please pour me a BIG cup of your coffee...hoping it helps this headache I have today. ~ Thanks again, Melanie--Great post! :) PJ

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  156. Hello Melanie! The cover of your book is beautiful, and I'd love the chance to win a copy. Fairy tales, medieval stories, folklore-- I think they are all wonderful!

    Like Pepper and Debby, I LOVE Sleeping Beauty. I think it's because it was the first Disney movie I saw as a kid where the prince actually had lines and the characters had a chance to get to know each other. And I love Phillip's determination to get to Aurora in the castle at the end.

    And to whoever brought up Ladyhawk--that's one of my absolute favorite movies! For years, I was convinced my knight in shining armor had to look like Rutger Haur in that movie, because he was just so gorgeous! Its also just a fun movie in general, for anyone who hasn't seen it.

    ~Stephanie

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  157. Lady Hawk!
    Oh man, I haven't seen that movie in FOREVER!
    Cool movie - one of the first 'real people' movies that got me thinking outside of animation :-)

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  158. Patti Jo, CatMom! You are a woman after my own heart. I truly believe in happily ever after. The Sleeping Beauty movie was always my favorite Disney movie. And thank you for the pecan pralines. MMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

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  159. Thank you, Jackie!!! Thanks for coming by! Good luck in the drawing.

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  160. Ooo, Twisted Fairy tales?!?
    Count me in.
    I have a few ideas for a YA series in the contemporary setting...
    but those will have to wait until I have time
    (yes, Mary & Ruthy...I'm WAITING)

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  161. Renee, I was so captured by that show! How fun that you discovered it so many years later!

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  162. I love today. I love talking about fairy tales and I have to say in recent years one of the best animated tales was Tangled (Rapunzel). I totally loved that it wasn't your typical prince rescues princess movie but that Rapunzel kinda took charge. I also have to say that Penelope is a great movie but mostly because that James McAvoy is a totally hunk. ;-)

    Oh BTW Grimm premieres tonight at 9/EST on NBC :-)

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  163. Enchanted was such a fun movie, wasn't it?
    And I really enjoy Amy Adams as the actress. and McDreamy ;-)

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  164. After reading the Healer's Apprentice, I'v been dying for the release of The Merchant's Daughter!! I love your writing and I can't wait!! Please count me in the drawing!! Even if I don't win I'll be buying this for sure!! Thank you Thank you!!

    Courtney

    kcmelone at yahoo dot com

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  165. Melanie, Beauty and the Beast is also mine and my husband's favorite. Personally, I found the beast in the Disney version more attractive as a beast instead of a man, but maybe I'm just a little weird.

    The World Series is great this year, and I'm cheering for the Rangers. I live in Texas and love Nolan Ryan, the ownder.

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  166. Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale. I have been watching that show Once Upon a Time.It is pretty good.

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  167. Mary said, "I like the twist on Beauty and the Beast where the beast isn't truly physically ugly, he's just a grouchy beast of a human being and needs to be cheered up."

    Mary, I think some of your heroes fit this description! I can't wait for you to read my book. I hope you like it!

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  168. Hi, Nancy! I read Beastly, and it looks like the movie is a lot different from the book. I may check it out.
    thanks for stopping by!

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  169. Thanks for the prayers, Patti Jo! So sorry about your headache. Praying it goes away!

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  170. Melanie, Jane Yolen put together several fairy tale stories back in the 90s. Some were original and others were re-tellings.

    One that I still remember was an adult book called "Briar Rose," that twisted the Sleeping Beauty story into a tale of the Holocaust. It was VERY different, but interesting to see that spin on it. I believe Yolen's twist was that the Sleeping Beauty was a Jew that had been gassed by the Nazis and nearly died, but a handsome farmer kissed her and nursed her back to health.

    It was much darker, but intriguing to see how universal truths and ideas can color so many stories.

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  171. Hahaha Connie you are not weird because I totally thought the same thing the first time I saw it!

    BTW I still have most of my Disney fairytale storybooks that I had when I was a kid. I basically grew up on them so it's hard for me to part with 'em.

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  172. Thanks for being with us today, Melanie! I'm looking forward to reading The Merchant's Daughter. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite too, and I'm excited about the twist you have put on it!

    I have lately been writing fairy tales about the people who get overlooked in fairy tales. My first one was about a middle child (it's always the oldest or youngest, isn't it, who saves the kingdom/marries the prince?) who gets fed up with being in the background and strikes out on her own. And suffers the consequences thereof...

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  173. The pilot for Once Upon a Time is reairing on Sunday at 7E/6C.

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  174. Er, followed by ep 2 immediately following :D.

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  175. Wow, now that I'm watching Ever After again, I remember Drew Barrymore's rahhhther annoying fake English accent. Yikes. And all that pontificating. Sheesh.

    I'm not sure which came first, Ella Enchanted or Ever After, but they have very similar plots, and I definitely like Ella Enchanted best.

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  176. Hi, Stephanie! Thanks for coming and sharing in our fairy tale party!!! I really do need to watch Lady Hawke again! I know what you mean about the prince and princess getting to know each other. In Snow White, they barely look at each other and then we don't see him again until the end when he kisses her awake. I definitely changed that in my version of the story! In fact, my story only vaguely resembles the Disney movie, but it does have seven men, although they're not all dwarfs. :-)

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  177. Oh, thank you, Courtney! So glad you enjoyed THA. Hope you like this one too! Bless you!

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  178. And for those looking for good clean YA that is not dark and dystopic, I reccommend Robin McKinley's Beauty (better than the later Rose Daughter, IMHO)and Spindle's End. McKinley does fairy tales right! Strong heroines, just enough chills, a hint of sweet romance, happy endings. Her later stuff gets too heavy (Deerskin and after) but her early books are wonderful for young girls.

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  179. Awwww Melanie I liked Ever After although Drew's accent was annoying LOL! I loved her costume at the ball, she looked like a fairy princess.

    XOXO~ Renee

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  180. Hi, Connie! Yeah, by the time you get to the end of the movie, you love the beast and don't care that he looks the way he does!

    Pepper, did I get the hero's name wrong in Enchanted? I knew I should have looked it up.

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  181. Virginia, I love Cinderella too! It's definitely a favorite.

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  182. I was raised on fairy tales before bed :) I totallly agree fairy tales are so timeless. Wonderful post :)

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  183. Well, guys, it looks like I'm going to have to take Faith to the doctor. Her fever has gone up, and I want to get her in to her pediatrician before the weekend. So I may be scarce this afternoon, but will try to catch up when I can! It's going to be sad around here, since it looks like she's going to miss her championship volleyball game. :-(

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  184. Hi Melanie! I'm so excited that I didn't miss your day on Seekerville! (the nasty sinus junk is going around at our house) I think you are an amazing author and feel very privileged to have learned so much from you!! You are the one who recommended Seekerville to me...and I appreciate that, along with so many other things. When I saw that The Healer's Apprentice was a YA book, I wasn't sure if I could relate. I'm so glad that didn't stop me from getting it...because I LOVED it! It really opened me up to other YA books that I've also really enjoyed. Now I can't wait to get The Merchant's Daughter! I'd love to be put into the drawing! Our favorite fairy tale is Cinderella. One thing my husband and I love about it is that Cinderella never retaliated, never spoke evil towards her stepmother/stepsisters, but maintained an attitude of humility. I think that humility and inner beauty is what the Prince saw in her. We've seen it a million times and it just never gets old! : ) Oh, and if you think you might still be coming to Atlanta for a book signing, let me know! We still haven't made our Ikea trip yet ;). Blessings~Stacey
    travelingstacey(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  185. Hi Melanie and fellow Seekers!

    Melanie, so happy to watch all your successes unfold :)

    What fairy tale are you itching to remake now?

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  186. Hey Melanie, I'm praying for you and Faith. So sorry to hear her fever's gone up. Sigh.

    Call me crazy, but even with the bad accent, I prefer Ever After to Ella Enchanted. :) Love the way the story plays out, and how one of the sisters isn't SOOOO bad. I still see and hear certain scenes from that movie :)

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  187. Working my way through the comments and have to say...

    I actually have that old TV show TAPED ON VHS. How nerdy was that??? :D I watched it over and over and over. A friend sent me a poster size pic of Beauty and the Beast and I had it on my bedroom wall. Ha! Nerd extra-ordinaire!
    I'm sure I'd find it really cheesy now, but as a teen I was completely captured by that show.

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  188. Oh no! Sorry to hear about Faith's fever.

    Our hearts just break when our kids are sick- and to miss the big game, too. It's just so sad. :( :(

    Hugs and prayers to her and you!

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  189. IKEA??? Did you say IKEA?

    We just got one here and I have a gift card!!

    I hate shopping but I love, love IKEA. It's a fairy tale come true for me.

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  190. Melly, praying for a quick recovery for Faith.

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  191. I absolutely LOVE your covers, Melanie! Gosh, the Zondervan team does a great job. :)

    Great post, Melanie! It always see the frequent commenters take over the page. :)

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  192. I really never watched Beauty and the Beast, probably because I have all boys and they won't watch certain Disney movies. Too girly. But I love fairy tales. Love contemporary stories based on them. I guess medieval could work too. :) Yours sounds like a wonderful story, Melanie.

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  193. I am such a fan! This one looks better than Apprentice, if that's even possible. Must. Get. This. Book.

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  194. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I love fairy tales. The magic of it all and true love conquering evil. What's not to love? I think that the fairy tales that have become classic are the ones that teach us lessons. That looks don't matter or how friendship is so important. I love the Disney movies but I wish the would go back to the way they were. The newer movies that have been put out are good but I miss the artwork and music from the classics like Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Lion King, etc. The artwork is still there but I miss the original songs.

    Thank you for sharing with us Melanie and your new book sounds great!

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  195. MELANIE!!! Another victim of my collander brain!!! PLEASE forgive me for not remembering I saw you at conference, but I was a weeeeeee bit on overload and most of conference is a blur for me. I guess I just locked in that you weren't going (and I had been praying you would), that I suppose I forgot that you DID!! Duh.

    And, no, I don't think I did know that you were a big Ruth Axtell Morren fan, but that just means we have ONE MORE THING in common because I LOVE that woman's work!!

    Are you serious??? A secular reviewer said your next book "pulses with suppressed sexuality"??? Oh, honey, I am SO there!!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  196. Melanie, I love fairy tales, too. But as a kid I was terrified of the big, bad wolf, etc. Maybe evil lurking behind every bush is exciting to read about! Thanks for visiting Seekerville.

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  197. I have to agree, the cover alone makes me want to read the book.

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  198. My goodness,

    I knew I should have stopped in sooner, but I was busy with a story.

    thanks so much for sharing Melanie.

    Your new story sounds interesting.

    And the trailer was pretty cool too.

    blessings

    Tina P

    tpins313(at)gmail.com

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  199. Well it stinks that it's not officially out but I can't wait to read it none the less! 21 more days!

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