Beauty and the Beast follow up…

So Lisa finally got to see the new version of Beauty and the Beast and pronounces Emma Watson’s voice as perfectly adequate so HAH to the naysayers! Although there is always a critic somewhere eh, sometimes you have to see it as constructive and sometimes you just have to ignore it…

Having said that, we are definitely not ignoring the feedback from our lovely beta readers – we have the first two responses which we are going through tonight and will make any corrections identified so far and start planning for any gaps/extras that we might need.

Also we have a friend who, fortuitously, specialises in producing fabulous book covers so undoubtedly she will be able to improve our originals and we will be able to include them when we re-publish the first two instalments to go with Out of the Shadows as the complete trilogy.

Other things in our lives lately include attending the ANZAC Day services yesterday which brought home the futility of war and echoes our wartime storyline in this latest book. In fact, in the NZ Herald today, there was an article about the son of a Canadian soldier who was posted to NZ in World War II, who had an affair and probably a child to a local girl. The son never followed up on this potential half-sibling out of respect to his parents while they were still alive but now is keen to find as much as he can about his Kiwi connection.

Lisa has also been heavily involved in home renovations, helping a daughter paint her bedroom. Add in a long weekend waterpolo tournament over Easter for the small boys and two trips to the Bay of Plenty, plus catching up with old friends down there, and it’s been a busy old time.

Having some feedback has given us some great ideas to move forward with and has made us feel as though we’re not writing in a complete vacuum. We look forward to our other readers being as constructive and helpful!

For the Fallen an Ode

How did you observe ANZAC Day if you’re a New Zealander or Australian? Have you enjoyed this run of short weeks? Tell us what you’ve been up to!



Tale as old as time…

I haven’t made it to the new Beauty and the Beast movie, but I am looking forward to it. It has made us think though about retellings of fairy stories.

Probably my favourite movie retelling of a fairy tale is the excellent “Ever After”. Caro was able to nominate a 1946 Jean Cocteau black and white film version of Beauty and the Beast (“La Belle et la Bete”). She also recalls a TV series called Faery Tale Theatre from the 1980s with Shelley Duvall introducing the series and Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher and numerous others starring in the remakes. Needless to say this demonstrates that Caro’s film experiences are eclectic and far ranging!

My favourite fairy tale ever is Leda and the Seven Swans, and my favourite retelling of it is Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier.

Daughter of the Forest

For all that I love Leda, there’s something about the Beauty and the Beast story that seems to catch everyone’s attention. Is it the hostage drama? Or the brave self-sacrifice of Beauty? Is it the idea of the lonely, brooding beast, doomed to roam the halls of his castle for all eternity in punishment for arrogance? Does the recurring theme of the rose add to the delicacy, pain and strength of the story? Is it just the hope it inspires in us that love is not defined by outward appearance, but rather by character? Or is it just that the Beast is far sexier than the Prince? Perhaps we always prefer the bad boys…

Another of my favourite authors, Robin McKinley, wrote  a wonderful retelling of Beauty and the Beast in her 1978 novel “Beauty”. Clearly she was still fascinated by the story, as nearly twenty years later, she wrote another, significantly different version, “Rose Daughter”. “Beauty” remains one of my most re-read books and I’ve had to replace the paperback I originally bought. I also like “Rose Daughter”, in part for the different slant it paces on the story. Incidentally, McKinley also wrote an excellent Sleeping Beauty retelling called “Spindle’s End”. Very worth reading.

I don’t know if all romance writers and readers like fairy tales as well, but I’ve always loved them. The themes are very straightforward, the magic, the happy ending and I guess the romance is always appealing as well, for me personally. Just a note here that Caroline prefers the far more gruesome and punishment heavy original Grimm stories. Beauty and the Beast is her favourite fairy tale – but not the Disney cartoon version with the singing crockery (although she does admit to shedding a tear during the ballroom scene).

Reading fairy tales led me on to Hans Christian Anderson, then Norse Mythology, and from there to Celtic myths and legends, and then to King Arthur. King Arthur led me to fantasy and from there it was a hop skip and a jump to romance and science fiction. For Caro, it was the Andrew Lang fairy tale books and original Grimm stories. Looking back on the progression, it seems to me that the imagination of it all is what attracted me the most. It inspired me write my own fairy tales, starting a lifelong love of writing as well as reading

What is your favourite fairy tale? What about a movie version? And a book version? We’d love to hear your take on it!





So we went hard out and finished the damn book but when we went to submit our competition entry, the fine print nobbled us 😦

Apparently, not only could the MSS have never been published but nor could its author/s and YES that included self-publishing on Amazon….

Well damn, we said – and a few other choice epithets including today’s title, which is summed up very well by the following slice of Kiwiana:

The good news is that HURRAH! We’ve finished the book and with it, the Shadows Trilogy. Now we need to get our covers updated (a friend offered a year ago and has very generously renewed that offer).

So now we have to choose new pix, fonts and all manner of other technical jibber jabber – plus fix a few errors in the layout of Yesterday’s Shadows and Dark Embrace. Also on the plus side, it means that now our lovely beta readers can have a go-through so we will have a finely polished story by the time you see it 🙂

Now our thoughts are turning to the next one – we already have a story outline and two scenes written; going on past experience, we will be publishing this around 2022…LOL.

Actually, to be fair, Dark Embrace practically wrote itself over a 6 week period and Out of the Shadows took 15 months while we also battled redundancies, moving house, job changes and a whole bunch of other real life – sometimes I’m amazed we actually found time to write at all (it’s because we’re amazing, yo!)! Here’s to a timeframe of closer to DE though which means we will have Book no. 4 (as yet untitled) out by the end of 2017.

We have three beta readers, but would love to have another one or two. We’re seeking feedback on how the story flows, whether the characters work for you and any continuity or grammar errors you may notice. If you think this sounds like you, leave a comment below! First in, best dressed!!