Review: Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

Synopsis from Amazon:
The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella—Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls.

Anxious to avoid the Traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with "Granny," the local wisewoman.

But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn't howling at the moon.

Breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he's only an occasional werewolf) and a little godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.

My Thoughts:

Is this the story of Beauty and the Beast? Or is it Little Red Riding Hood? Bella learns that some forcewill be stuffed into some story whether she likes it or not.

Loved Bella! She was down to earch and practical and caring and in the course of a month she turned a dead and hopeless house into a bright and happy home.

The wolf--the reclusive duke--is just marvelous...though not what I've come to expect from werewolves. He's certainly not the alpha male type. He's too sincere and sweet for that, but I love the way he babbles when he's uncomfortable and often puts his foot in his mouth.

I don't know if author Mercedes Lacky meant to, but she definitely wrote him as a Sagittarian. And as everyone knows, Sagittarians are fun and wonderful people, full of vigor and honesty and good will. *ahem* I really am not prejudiced at all.

So if you like reading retellings of fairy tales (which I've done a lot of lately), you might want to try this one. This one is an adult book, but clean and fun and fast paced.



Writing a novel can be rewarding, but alone, it is hard, stressful work—all the plot threads, characters, techniques, rules, research to keep track of—round after round of edits. Imagine if you could clone yourself. Your clone will flush out your hazy ideas, break through the frustrations of writer’s block, and edit while you sleep.

Or you could find a co-author—someone who thinks and writes like you, enjoys the same books, gives you the best comments when they beta-read your work, and is as dedicated to the journey of writing as you are.

Step One – Set the Ground Rules
But writers are a sensitive bunch, and a joint project can deteriorate into chaos. To avoid destroying a friendship or the next best seller, determine your rules of operation before diving into writing:

1. Set deadlines for each phase of the project. Or agree not to have deadlines and to let the project take as long as it needs. When co-authoring with a serious writer, your writing partner may have other projects in the works. Make a pact that this be the stress-free fun project.

2. Control your source file. Sending a document through email can get confusing, and you may end up with multiple copies in varying stages of development. Decide beforehand how you will manage this.

3. Plan how to settle arguments. Mutual respect and understanding can solve many problems, but for the unsolvable, hold a coin toss or leave things unchanged until a solution can be found.

4. Agree to compromise and to have a good attitude. Remember that nobody “owns” the project.

Step Two – Brainstorming
Start a document with headers for each character, for the world building, and for the plot points. Mark your name as you leave comments to allow for conversations within the document. Pass this document back and forth until you have explored every subject and idea.

The following example describes a Lizard Man for a middle-grade novel I'm working on with Wendy Swore:

What are his special abilities?

Writer One: I imagine him to be cold blooded and able to blend in well to his surroundings. I’m not sure that he’s a chameleon so much; just that he’s so cold and mottled that no one would notice he’s a man.

Writer Two: On top of the ability to hide, he should be able to move without making a sound. Perhaps he can walk on walls and ceilings. He likely has a great deal of strength and can jump great distances.

Step Three – Plotting
Once you have flushed out the story, pull your ideas into a chapter synopsis. The following describes how two brothers will meet the Lizard Man:

Chapter One

Bullies toss Tsol’s journal over a fence and into a hedge maze. When Deen races to get it, Tsol hangs back. He does not break rules since being near-perfect seems the way to get adults to leave him alone. He is a naturally inverted kid who knows adults don’t appreciate his imaginative ideas. He prefers his books and experiments to people. But when Deen doesn’t return, Tsol must climb the fence to find his brother.

Step Four – Writing
Following this pattern, the clones can create a first draft containing both writer’s styles and ideas threaded throughout the story:

1. Writer One writes the first chapter and passes it to Writer Two.

2. Writer Two edits the first chapter, writes the second chapter, and then passes it to Writer One.

3. Writer One reviews changes to the first chapter, edits the second chapter, writes the third chapter, and passes it to Writer Two.

Step Five – Editing
“Track Changes” is your friend. You can add comments and discussions, additions and deletions until each writer is happy with every word. Keep an open mind, and don’t marry yourself to the parts you wrote. For two styles to come together, neither one can dominate.

When editing, watch for consistency errors. Writer One pictures a scene one way, but Writer Two describes a completely different room. Or Writer Two adds a side character, and Writer One drops the character from the story.

Ending Thoughts
Sometimes, in the endless turmoil of being a writer, you need a fun project. For me, this is the best way to do it. Have fun!
And don't forget to tell me about your co-authoring projects!

50% February Sales Will Be Donated to St Jude

Death and I shared a complicated history. During most of my seventeen years of life, it had followed me like a shadow I couldn’t outrun. Its icy fingers had closed around me more than once, but each time, I narrowly escaped. Even thinking about those encounters chilled my soul, but something always intervened. I survived. Not without more than my fair share of scares, though, and the knowledge that every second is precious.

Some sense of foreboding accompanied my dark thoughts, and apprehension haunted me as I stepped from the limo into the balmy Florida heat. The humidity caused my robin-blue gown to cling to my skeletal frame like shrink-wrap. My bald, scarred head was covered by a wig, perfectly styled and immune to the hot, sticky air.

Tall, slender palm trees swayed in the breeze as Nikki and I wove our way from the parking lot and into the hotel’s crowded lobby. Tonight would be perfect. It had to be—because tonight would be the highlight of my short life.
— excerpt from “Kiss of Death” by Lani Woodland and Melonie Piper, one story in Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal

Much like the character in this excerpt, there are children and teenagers who live with pain every day, their bodies riddled with illness. Browsing the St Jude site, I am mesmerized by the smiling faces of the small patients. My own girls are running around the house, dancing and laughing. I can’t imagine watching my child go through something like this. I don’t WANT to imagine it. But for some parents, that is not an option.

If there is one thing I want as a writer and publisher, it is the opportunity to be generous. With February being the month of love, Robot Playground Inc will donate 50% net profits (minimum $30) from February sales to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The benefit on the lives of others:

• $30 can help provide a St. Jude family with meals for one day.
• $100 can help provide one pair of pediatric crutches.
• $140 can help provide two platelet count tests.
• $500 can help provide two transfusion units of red blood cells.
• $1,000 can help provide two days of oxygen.
• $1,500 can help provide a day of chemotherapy.
• $4,000 can help provide a day of outpatient care.

These sales can be eBook or paperback, from Amazon or B&N. Purchase for yourself or as a gift. The more you buy, the more we can give.

Purchase Information:
Paperback: $10.99
Kindle: $2.99
Nook: $2.99