Monday, February 29, 2016

Sleeping Beauty: Disney vs Perrault

This month I'm focusing on Sleeping Beauty. So let's dive in and look at the differences in the tales by Charles Perrault and the Grimm brothers and the 1959 Disney animated movie.

Both the Perrault and Grimm story versions contain more fairies (8 and 13 respectively), whereas Disney chose to focus on four: three good and one evil. And while both Perrault and the Grimms chose to mention how the King and Queen struggled to conceive a child, this is left out of the animated version.

The story of how the fairies were invited vary in the print versions, but the "evil" fairy always bestows her curse before the final fairy has given her blessing. Disney leaves out the invitation part, but the gift bestowing seems to match well with Perrault and Grimm.

Disney lets us see Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora's first meeting (he as a young boy and she a baby), using the traditional promising of marriage to form an alliance, something neither text makes mention of.

The pricking of the finger on the spindle is the same in all stories, but Disney sets up a unique villainess in Maleficent. Neither of these tales mention a dragon or have the prince slay any creatures to rescue the princess. Instead,  the tales penned by Perrault and the Grimm brothers, have one hundred years pass before a prince from a foreign land finds the princess and wakes her. There are some other versions where the prince/king who finds the Sleeping Beauty behave very dishonorably, but that is not the case in these two tales.

Henry Meynell Rheam
Disney's version of things after the finger pricking creates a completely new version of the tale. Prince Phillip, Aurora's betrothed and her mystery man from the woods, slays the dragon and saves the girl he loves.

For me, while quite different than the original tales, the addition of defeating the dragon and the nod to the "true love conquers all" theme make for a wonderful change (one I played off of in Quest of the Hart). 

Disney gives a nice nod to the Grimm Brother's by having Aurora use the name Briar Rose while in hiding (this is the name the Grimm's used after the spell took place.)

The biggest difference I noticed was in the ending. Disney's ending followed the Grimm brother's ending more than Perrault's. In the Perrault tale, the prince and princess spend time getting to know each other before marrying and reaching their happy-ever-after.

What differences did you notice in the stories and film adaptation? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don't forget to stop back next week to see what I learned about women in the workplace in 1959.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Great Weekend Read!

Looking for a book for the weekend? How about one with two hot guys to choose from and a story line that involves pirates and a biblical prophecy? 

A power as old as King Solomon awakens when a seventeen-year-old girl marks the brooding hot abductor ordered to seize her. 

Addie Heaton’s not your average high school student. Orphaned at two, she’s spent most of her life reading the emotions of others. It’s a little trick she likes to call color-vision. But lately, a stranger has been trailing her, putting off shades of black and red—colors Addie hasn’t seen since the night her parents were killed—colors Addie never wanted to see again. 

But when Addie comes face to face with Conal Reed, owner of the terrifying shades, she learns her stranger’s a little different too. He’s brooding hot, mysterious, and all too elusive. Conal loves to materialize, and then vanish at all the wrong times. Nice. 


After years of keeping her ability a secret, Addie’s found another person with gifts, someone who may know what she really is. But Conal’s not talking. He’s having more fun showing up uninvited, teasing her senses, and disappearing at all the wrong times. Instead of finding answers, Addie finds herself reconsidering ever being alone and naked again.

Don't miss The Bone Treaty, by TC McKee. On sale at AMAZON for $0.99!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Once Upon a Time ~ Sleeping Beauty

Up next in my study of fairy tales turned animated films is Sleeping Beauty. The 1959 Disney film is based on La Belle au Boir Dormant by Charles Perrault that can be found here.

It also has some elements from the Grimm Brother's Briar Rose, which can be found here.

There are many other variants to the story, including ones that are very dark. You can find more on them here.

Come back next week to compare the written tales and the animated film.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Something in the Water by Ben Starling

Today, I'm happy to introduce Ben Starling to the blog. Welcome Ben! Tell us a little about yourself. When you're not writing, what do you like to do?

Analyse boxing techniques on online. I used to coach and box competitively until a few years ago. Many people see only the force and lightning speed of boxing. But it is a beautiful sport in many ways too if you understand and watch for the underlying strategy in each play.

I loved watching boxing with my dad when I was younger. Brings back some great memories. What have you been working on recently? Can you tell us about your new release?

Something in the Water is fundamentally a love story—with a bit of adventure in the tropics thrown in too. Here’s the blurb:

The sealed box Teal finds in the street contains more than just a mystery…

What if to be with the man of your dreams…you had to give up your life? 

On the verge of losing her job, side-lined journalist Teal is forced to travel to the South Pacific to profile a powerful businessman. But with her almost-but-not-quite fiancĂ© Bear discouraging her every step of the way, she may not be able to save her career or her relationship. 

When corporate criminals invade paradise, Teal teams up with a former 
boxer turned marine-biologist to investigate. As she discovers the true intentions behind their new canning operations, she must either accept the plum promotion that will save her career or—with Perry—defend the island with more than her life.

Something in the Water, An Ocean Romance is available on Amazon. 

Oh! I see the boxing tie-in now. Who will this story appeal to? 

Those who love the works of Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts and Colleen Hoover.

I'm a huge Nora Roberts fan. Can't wait to see where you take me with this story, Ben! What inspired you to become an author?

An accidental long-term commitment to simplicity. It’s an occupation that lends itself to a lifestyle de-emphasizing material possessions and that promotes time for reflection. It’s so easy, so compelling to get caught up in the rush of city life, so difficult to wind down and be mindful of the little things, the simple things. The things which make life worthwhile.

Interesting. I know my life is quite complicated at times and I miss the simple things. It's always nice to take that break that brings you back to a simpler place and time. I imagine your lifestyle gives you time to reflect on all kinds of advice. What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Swim 60 lengths every morning before writing.

I'd love to, if I had access to a pool. I'd miss working on my form. Speaking of form, what is your favorite literary form to write?

I enjoy everything, everything. I’ve written poetry, a screenplay, a novella, short stories, non-fiction articles. There is something to learn from everything. Every form teaches something new and informs the next project’s challenges. Poetry teaches imagery and rhythm. Short stories hone tight scene writing. Novels need structure and pace. Structure and pace lift poetry…

I’m currently writing a Valentine’s Day poem—it’s being written over several days in the lead up to the big day. I am releasing it stanza by stanza daily on my facebook page.

That is so cool! Where can we check it out? 

Visit me at to follow a new kind of event-a Valentine’s Poetry Writing Reality Show!

Is there anything you MUST have in order to write?

Silence. Frequent breaks. Occasional chocolate. Encouragement from my editor and beta readers. More chocolate…

I'm sensing a theme here :-) What can we look forward to next from you?

Something in the Water will be supported by a series of short stories that reveal the backstories of the major characters in this world.

The first in the series, Something in the Air, is available now free at my website as well as free on Kobo (and also available at Amazon). The second short story in the series, Something on the Fly, will be released in the Spring!

Where can we find these books?

Something in the Water - available on Amazon

Something in the Air –  available for FREE at, Kobo It's also available at Amazon, for $0.99

Something on the Fly – coming soon!

Care to share a snippet from Something in the Water?


Something in the Water – Chapter 1 begins…

New York, September

He didn’t look like the hotel guests, the business people, or the tourists. He didn’t move like them either.

He brushed past me as I climbed off my Vespa, stilettos in hand, outside the entrance of the Waldorf Astoria. Had he smiled at the radiance of my scarlet ball gown? Or was he amused by my battered Converse sneakers?

As a valet approached to take my scooter and helmet, I spotted my boss, Malcolm, waving hello from the lobby. He was approaching the glass doors that separated us when I noticed a small wooden box on the ground. Two steps later, I had picked it up. Who could have dropped it?

No one was close by, so I turned. The only man who’d passed me was already a half block away, gliding beside the cars that waited for the lights to change at the end of the block. Was it his?

What I knew for sure was that now wasn’t the time to be tracking down the little box’s owner. I should hand it in to reception and concentrate on the evening ahead. For a few seconds, I relaxed as I studied the hotel’s confident, soaring opulence—a world unknown to me before my arrival from Nantucket four years ago. The smooth texture of the box, however, drew my thoughts back to it. Was there something valuable inside? What if it did belong to that man, and he never returned to collect it? I turned the box over—and caught my breath.

“How on earth…?”

Malcolm emerged in front of me. “Hello, darling, you look absolutely—are you okay?”

I thrust my sparkly evening shoes into his hands, and hitched up my shawl. I was about to give chase when a convertible Ferrari lurched to a stop beside me.

“Going my way, babe?” its driver shouted, over the thrum of the engine.

But my dress was redder, and I got the better start.

Read the rest of Something in the Water, Chapter 1 at

Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his upcoming novel. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents over the past three decades. He is Oxford’s only ever quintuple boxing Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and competed until a few years ago. He is 6’3”and 192 lbs. Ben graduated with a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.

Connect with Ben at:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happily Ever After? ~ Snow White and The Prince

And they lived happily ever after. Or so the story says, but did they? 

What makes a good couple? For me, I think a good couple is evenly balanced. And by that I mean that they share the power of the relationship. When I write couples into my stories, I try to make sure that my strong characters are matched with a strong counterpart. If my female MC is a warrior princess, she would tromp all over a weak-willed servant, and the relationship wouldn't work. It would be out of balance. I'm not saying she has to be paired with a prince, but she needs to be paired with someone who equals her strengths or balances her.

In order to see if the characters would be well matched as a couple, I needed some sort of criteria to judge their individual strengths. I thought about what traits believed a strong character would demonstrate and came up with the following criteria to judge:

Decision Making Skills
Respect of Others
Sense of Responsibility
Compassion Towards Others

I assigned points (0-5) for how I thought each character rated in the four areas and then totaled up the values for each character. If the point values ended up close (within 5 points) I'd say that we have a well matched couple. The closer the points, the better the relationship balance.

So, how did Snow White and The Prince fair in my non-scientific and totally subjective test?

By Aida McKenzie 

Snow White: 16/20

Decision Making Skills: 3/5 Snow White made a good decision to run from the Huntsman and to stay with the Seven Dwarfs, but then she started making some pretty bad decisions. Not listening to the dwarfs about dealing with strangers harmed her at least three times in the Grimm brother’s tale, and once in the Disney animation.

Respect of Others: 4/5 Snow White is very respectful of others, in fact, this is part of what gets her in trouble with the disguised evil queen. Snow White doesn’t want to be rude to her elder, and the evil queen plays upon this to achieve her goal of eliminating Snow White from the picture.

Sense of Responsibility: 4/5 Snow White shows a good sense of responsibility. She takes it upon herself to clean the dwarfs home in the movie, and agrees to clean the home in the book. However, she doesn’t seem to have a sense of responsibility toward the people of her kingdom, as she fled for her life and has made no plans on how to return to her kingdom. Granted, she was a princess who would most likely be married off to form an alliance with another kingdom, but there is nothing in the story or movie to show she has any thoughts of returning from hiding.

Compassion Toward Others: 5/5 Snow White takes care of the dwarfs, she is kind to the old woman (evil queen), and is shown in the animated tale as someone the animals love and trust. She even seems worried about the Huntsman who tried to kill her. If that doesn’t show compassion, then I don’t know what does!

The Prince: 8*/20

Decision Making Skills: We do not see enough of The Prince to know how his decision making skills are.

Respect of Others: 4/5
While the Prince is only onscreen for a few minutes, the way he treats the Seven Dwarves and Snow White shows at least some semblance of an upbringing that taught respect for others. He is polite and doesn’t just barge in demanding things, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here and granting him almost perfect at respect.

Sense of Responsibility: We do not see enough of The Prince to know how his decision making skills are.

Compassion Toward Others: 4/5 Given that he stopped in a clearing to see the presumably dead Snow White and offer his respects, I find that shows a sense of compassion.

Overall Assessment: It is difficult to say whether or not Snow White and The Prince are suited for each other. We never learn enough about The Prince to know if there would be a power imbalance. The happily-ever-after ending in both the animated movie and the original tale relies too much on magic and insta-love to give an accurate assessment of the couple. However, if the prince has good decision making skills and at least a moderate sense of responsibility it appears the two would be better suited than what we see now.

What do you think? Are Snow White and The Prince the perfect couple? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Monday, February 1, 2016

#InkRipples~ Chocolate!

Chocolate. Just hearing the word makes my mouth water for a piece of that creamy, cocoa confection of awesome-sauce.

In case you can’t tell, I LOVE chocolate. In fact, I’m always amazed when people say they don’t like it. I’m like, really? How can you not like this amazing food?

I have author friends who have to have chocolate covered espresso beans or a piece of a specific brand of chocolate during their writing sessions. Other friends use it as a reward system: if I get ‘X’ words done, or if I write myself out of this scene I’m stuck in, I can have a piece of chocolate.

I don’t do either of those things. If I’m writing, I tend not to eat, and my coffee/tea goes cold as it sits untouched at my side. If I’m stuck, I get up from the keyboard and do something else while my subconscious works on my problem. For me, while I love chocolate, it isn’t a motivator or a “must have.”

Anyway, back to chocolate. Mm. Chocolate.

When I think of chocolate, I think of goodies. And that makes me think of cooking or baking. Being a kid and spending some time in the kitchen with my mom.

One of the earliest recipes I learned was for a form of chocolate cookie called “No Bakes.” My mom used to make these all the time. They’re quick and super easy to make. In fact, this recipe I pulled from Quaker’s website is just like my mom and I used to make!

No Bakes

2 Cup(s) granulated sugar
8 Tablespoon(s) (1 stick) margarine or butter
1/2 Cup(s) Low-fat milk
1/3 Cup(s) baking cocoa
3 Cup(s) Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

PREPARATION:In large saucepan, combine sugar, margarine, milk and cocoa. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Continue boiling 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in oats.* Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let stand until firm. Store tightly covered.

*If using old fashioned oats, cool mixture in saucepan 5 minutes.

Don't forget to swing by Katie and Kai's blog for their chocolate themed posts. If you're tossing your own ripple, be sure to leave me a link in the comments and don't forget to tag #InkRipples!!