Fairytale Writing Contest from Rooglewood Press

Today I’m very excited to help announce the next fairytale writing contest from Rooglewood Press. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover?

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Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their second fairy tale novella contest—

Five Enchanted Roses
a collection of “Beauty and the Beast” stories

The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Beauty and the Beast,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours!
Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Enchanted Roses collection, which will be packaged up with the gorgeous cover you see displayed here. Perhaps your name will be one of the five displayed on this cover?
All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page.
Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 14. Do grab yourself a copy and see what these talented writers have done with the timeless “Cinderella” tale!

Cover Illustration Credit:
This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website: http://www.forestgirl.ru

Beautiful People: The Melancholy Balloon

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(After wrangling with an image from gettyimage.com for far too long, I settled on quick sketch of the Balloon instead. Blog posts just aren’t the same without pictures, you know?)

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog here, but with summer around the corner, I have more time to write, blog, and loaf around. (Loafing around is often more appealing than the previous two options). So today, I snagged an old set of questions from the Beautiful People archive and thought I’d interview the Melancholy Balloon, one of the characters from A Ticket to Yonder. Without further ado…

1. Do they have any habits, annoying or otherwise?
Balloon has the annoying habit of questioning everything in the universe; any question he cannot answer is “another one of life’s unsolvable mysteries.”

2. What is their backstory and how does it affect them now?
Balloon’s older brother died rather tragically, leaving Balloon shaken and unsure about his beliefs. He’s been melancholy ever since (thus the name).

3. How do they show love?
By giving reassuring remarks, or just floating nearby. He may even try to smile.

4. How competitive are they?
Balloon isn’t competitive at all. He prefers to sit back and ponder why other people bother being competitive.

5. What do they think about when nothing else is going on?
Life’s unsolvable mysteries.

6. Do they have an accent?
No. He has a very normal, flat voice.

7. What do others expect from them?
Not much. Unless you need a translator for some rare language (such as Cloud Octopus or Snacking Walrus), then he’s not very useful.

8. How do they feel about people in general?
Melancholy Balloon is generally empathetic about other people. He’s not necessarily a people-person, but he likes to be on the fringe of the crowd, just observing others and pondering.

Spidey Returns

What’s not to love about a guy who fights crime by shooting spiderwebs?  Spiders may be creepy, but Spider-Man is cool.  After thoroughly enjoying the 2012 reboot of Spider-Man, I had high expectations for the sequel–and I wasn’t disappointed.

Andrew Garfield plays a marvelous Spider-Man; he can be humorous without being goofy (unlike Toby Maguire…), but he can also play a serious, mature superhero. As Peter Parker, he also has a great sense of style and good taste in music (he listens to a Phillip Phillips song during the movie). But Peter has to deal with a bit of a sticky promise he made to his girlfriend’s dying father: a promise that he would leave said girlfriend alone.  Thus, conflict and angst ensues…

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I enjoyed the plot, other than a certain thing that happens at the end…no spoilers on that, though. But be prepared for a somewhat sad ending. In this movie, Spidey had two new villains tossed his way (not counting a guy in a mechanical rhino suit at the end). Both villains, Electro and Green Goblin, had interesting stories and were well-developed characters.

The character who really stole the show for me was Peter’s friend, Harry Osborn. The two serve as good foils for each other; both are young men lacking parental units; however, they deal with their lack of families in different ways. Harry’s overall story in the movie was well-developed. He, in some ways, is comparable to Loki from the Avengers.
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NOW FOR SPOILERS (Cause I can’t resist…)

 

 

Harry’s dealio in the movie is that he inherited a nasty disease from his dad that basically turns his skin green and scaly and makes his hands shake. He becomes obsessed with finding a cure–and he’s convinced Spider-Man’s blood will help him. Harry isn’t an idiot and after a conversation with Peter and seeing a very close-up photo Peter took of Spider-Man, he puts two and two together that Peter and Spidey have a connnection. Peter is left in a conundrum–if he gives Harry his blood, it could either cure him, kill him, or him into some nasty monster. Too afraid of the latter options, he doesn’t give Harry his blood. Harry is crushed. He even does this wimpy little table-flip in his posh New York house…compared to Thor, his table-flipping skills are lacking. But that’s beside the point. Anyway, Harry starts to go a little nutty and ends up injecting himself with venom from mutated spiders (courtesy of the ever-friendly and benevolent Oscorp). This turns him into Green Goblin. It appears that green is the “in” color for villains…overall, I found Harry’s story tragic but well done. He is a good person and objects the experiments done at Oscorp’s shady insane asylum, Ravencroft Institute…but he gets betrayed by members of Oscorp (they weren’t too pleased that Norman Osborn left his evil empire–I mean large corporation to his 20-year-old son). Thus, at the end of the day Harry Osborn finds himself betrayed by his employees and seemingly abandoned by his friend. Like I said, he’s up there as a tragic villain with Loki and Bucky.

 

 

END OF SPOILERS

And of course, how can you not love the adorable Gwen Stacy? A lot of the time superheroes’ girlfriends rub me the wrong way…but Gwen doesn’t. She’s smart, but isn’t obnoxious and has a cute fashion sense.

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As for any unpleasant things in the movie: it’s a superhero movie, so there’s violence. But the violence wasn’t over-the-top or unusually gruesome. In the way of foul language and inappropriate content, the movie is very clean. There is some under-aged drinking (by Harry, who’s 20) but it’s not really a big deal. Overall, I highly recommend seeing this movie and I’m excited for the third.