By: A. C. James
Adding a modern spin to fables and fairy tales is nothing new. This fall brought another take to the legend of Sleepy Hollow by weaving in Revelation eschatology and Tom Mison turned up the heat by donning a sexy British accent. What’s not to love? Meanwhile, the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke and its fairy tale residents have been capturing our attention in Once Upon a Time. Its fairy tale characters have been trapped in the real world with their memories stolen by a powerful curse. In Grimm, a police procedural becomes fantasy and is inspired by the classic Grimms’ Fairy Tales that my grandmother used to read.
But fairy tales have indoctrinated gender roles and in most fairy tales the female character takes on certain characteristics and behavior patterns. The heroine is your ideal good girl. She is beautiful, kind, and compassionate. She does not complain or get angry. Often her character is portrayed as naïve or unworldly. Prince Charming sweeps in to save the day. Voila! And the princess never tries to save herself.
Ironically, these fairy tales often feature a female villain who is cunning and ambitious. These villains are characterized as being jealous and malicious. Good and evil are firm categories where good is rewarded and evil is punished. Fairy tales make it clear who the protagonist and antagonist are and the person, not the act, defines good and evil. To be good, one must be docile. These fairy tales suggest that if a woman takes action, she is evil.
What do I love about the modern day take on fairy tales?
I love to see the positive shift in gender roles. These fairy tale themes have taken female characters that were once thought of as delicate, fair creatures that needed to be rescued and made them into strong heroines. I’m a mom and I want my daughter to believe that the world is an oyster and that she has the ability and freedom to do anything.
I first started writing Eternal Ever After when I woke up from a dream inspired perhaps from eating too much pepperoni and reading Tiffany Reisz before bed. Ian Somerhalder appeared to me as Damon Salvatore but he was dressed like a priest and reminded me of Søren from the Original Sinners series. I blame the pepperoni.
Eternal Ever After is an adult Gothic Cinderella retelling where Holly Ellis, our heroine, learns she has some powers of her own and ultimately she can defeat evil. We all love hot alpha heroes but having a character who’s not so sure of herself and taking her on a journey of self-discovery, both emotionally and sexually, is empowering.
Fairy tale heroes are the characters that seem to make everything work out in the end. Arie Cush, a reluctant vampire prince charming, is so much more than that. His history drives the story, throwing our hero and heroine together, and at the same time pushing them apart. A supporting cast of characters adds friendship to the story.
I hope readers enjoy a rendition that combines a classic fairy tale with a touch of history and a whole lot of paranormal to bend gender roles and break societal expectations!
Eternal Ever After
Ever After Series Book 1
Genre: Steamy Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wandering Impulse Press
Date of Publication: 11/23/13
Cover Artist: Ramona Lockwood
His past holds a secret…
Arie Cush has a secret that he thought he’d left behind. When his past follows him
to Chicago he must protect someone that reminds him of all the painful memories
he’s tried so hard to forget. But when every touch from her sets his heart and body
on fire—he finds it hard to maintain his aloof façade.
That becomes her nightmare.
Holly Ellis has secrets of her own. An encounter with the handsome stranger who frequents her coffee shop reveals a vampire with baggage. Even though it might be more than she bargained for, she can’t resist the one person who understands her. But her life is in danger and a supernatural threat could reveal the underground world of vampires to humankind in this Gothic Cinderella re-telling. Inside Scoop: This story contains bondage, anal play, a M/F primary romance with mild F/F situations.
Warning: This book is fictitious. The bdsm portrayed in this story does not portray
the lifestyle. Vampires will be vampires. They don’t exactly stop to discuss a
scene, pain thresholds, and there is no aftercare involved. Trust is an intrinsic part
of the lifestyle. Use due diligence and research before deciding to make fiction into reality.
Heat Level: This book is a steamy romance. It’s the development of a romantic
relationship that contains more explicit language and sex. The sex is not an
inherent part of the story, character growth, or relationship development, and if
removed you still have an amazing plot.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.”
–Holy Bible: King James Version
I never guessed that I could die with a sea of faces surrounding me, all cheering for my death. A woman wearing a jacket dress made of brocade only laughed louder when blood splattered the low square neckline. Where is Arie? I scanned the crowded club but all I could see were pale faces, some half covered by masks.
My time had come and I prayed she would finish me off quickly. The warm trickle of blood ran down my neck and chest, saturating the corset bustier of my gown. It seemed like a shame to ruin such a pretty dress. Strangely, I felt relieved the bodice was black and not a light color that would show a stain.
The fear of dying or more accurately, the fear of not existing, scared me stiff. Perhaps if I had satisfied this existential anxiety with faith I wouldn’t jump from panic to ambivalence. I should be angry at everyone who simply watched. They must think the gruesome display is part of the entertainment for tonight. After the bloody burlesque show I could hardly blame them.
Holly, I gave you the chance to leave. The telepathic transference hardly seemed relevant at this point. I knew if I’d never gone to the Hellfire Club, I wouldn’t be facing death now. Still, if my death meant the killings would stop it seemed justifiable. “No!” I could barely hear Arie scream above the cheering voices clamoring for attention. The constant drone defies my effort to form coherent thoughts. I looked up and could see him on the balcony. When I blinked he had disappeared into the throng. I could feel the blood continue to trickle down my neck as she drained me. Dizziness threatened to pull me under. The audience applauded her brutality. I crumpled at her feet, looking up at her smile as thin as paper. Blood. So much blood. My blood.
I didn’t want this to be the story of my death but this part is only a fragment of a narrative as old as time. Its voices fill the shadows with whispers of legend. We are told that the damned cease to exist and those absolved from sin are given eternal life. The damned can never be saved. They walk the earth in an eternal hell. I fear it will be my curse if death doesn’t claim me instead.
About the Author:
A.C. James--author of erotic paranormal romance and erotica. Author of Cursed Ever After, an anthology of four erotic paranormal short stories. Its full length sequel, Eternal Ever After, tones it down to steamy romance. Wife, mother, and storyteller extraordinaire. She resides in northeast Pennsylvania drinking large vats of coffee while taming two toddlers by day and writing by night. Recovering video game beta tester and tech geek who grew-up going to cons and watching SmackDown. There's probably some cosplay pictures around somewhere of her dressed up as Bloodberry from Saber Marionette J. Just don't tell anyone.