Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Charlene Sands, Fairytale Junkie! Drawing

 

Let’s give a big welcome to Charlene Sands, a USA Today bestselling author writing Silhouette Desires and westerns for Harlequin Historicals. She’s written 28 books to date and considers herself fortunate to love what she does.  Get ready for a story that will make you go awwww.

What little girl doesn’t grow up loving fairy tales? When I think of classic fairy tales I think of Ariel in the Little Mermaid or Belle in Beauty and the Beast or Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. 

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And of course, I can’t forget to mention probably the most famous of all the princesses, Cinderella.  Cinderella_2

I’m a self-proclaimed fairy tale junkie. I admit it!  I can watch the Disney versions over and over again. I love the catchy songs, the flowing music, the ornate gowns and sparkly tiaras, but most important for me, it’s the romance that draws me in and hooks me. Goodness, what down-on-her-luck woman wouldn’t want a roguishly handsome Prince Charming to come dashing in to sweep her off her feet and proclaim undying love?   

Have you ever been mesmerized by the song, Once Upon A Dream from Sleeping Beauty?  The lyrics just sort of grab you and the tune is so haunting you can’t help but keep singing it in your head, long after the movie is over. This was my daughter’s favorite Disney movie so needless to say, I’ve watched it over and over with her. And to shed some light, since this is a confession after all, the night before my daughter’s wedding, we had a Sleeping Beauty night.    Sleeping_Beauty  Mom and daughter got cozy together on the sofa and watched on as Aurora claimed her Happily Ever After, just like my Nikki was to do the very next day in her real life wedding.

Small wonder why I write romances, right?

So another confession I’m making today is that quite often I model my romance stories after fairy tales. My July Silhouette Desire, Seduction on the CEO’s Terms might have also been called, Cinderella’s Beauty Makeover.  Honestly, even a Romantic Times Book Club reviewer picked up on my fairy tale theme, with this passage, “Beauty and the Beast has nothing on Ali and Joe, who are perfect for each other, and the sultry background of Napa Valley is a fitting place for their romance.”

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Putting a twist on a fairy tale is a blast.  In my story, Ali Pendrake is simply too beautiful, too feisty, too flamboyant for Joe Carlino to even think about getting involved with at the office.  He’d had an office romance once before that went south and broke his heart, so Ali’s last ditch desperate measure to catch his attention is to enlist the aid of her friends and become Plain Jane.  Her Cinderella in Reverse plan works and she captures the heart of her Handsome Prince, only to find that she wants Joe to love the real Ali, not the “fit to size” woman she had become.

Are you a Fairy Tale Junkie too? Which fairy tales do you enjoy? Are there any you simply can’t pass up?  What’s in your treasure chest of fairy tale memories?  My favorite is Beauty and the Beast – what is yours?   I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Million-Dollar Marriage Merger, book #1 of my Napa Valley Vows trilogy to one lucky commenter today, or any other of my available backlist!!

Charlene
www.charlenesands.com

Charlene has been honored with the 2006 Readers Choice Award and the 2008 and 2009 Booksellers Best Award. She’s an active member of RWA and belongs to the Orange County Chapter and the Los Angeles Chapter where she volunteers her time as the Published Authors Liaison.  CA8901WN

Seduction on the CEO’S Terms, the second book in her Napa Valley Vows series is in bookstores now and coming this August is her RT Top Pick, The Billionaire’s Baby Arrangement.

51 comments:

Leanne said...

Charlene, I LOVE this blog! I'm a total fairytale junkie too!<3 I'm with you. Love the songs and stories. Beauty and the Beast is one of my faves, but I LOVE the music from The Little Mermaid. And isn't there a little Cinderella in all of us? Congrats on your new releases!

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Charlene. "Beauty and the Beast" is my favorite fairy tale, but "Sleeping Beauty" is a close second. I also love the Disney adaptations and watch them often.

Pamela Keener said...

Cute blog. I love thate story about you and your daughter the eve of her wedding. Seduction on The CEO's Terms sounds awesome. I think I am a fairy tale gal as I believe in HEA and that's what I want in my romance reading.
Love & Hugs,
Pam

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Charlene and welcome!

I love fairy tales. I think beauty and the beast is my favorite, too. Belle is such a strong heroine. The Shrek stories are fun, but in a different way!

Great cover on your new release!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Charlene. Congratulations on your new release. Sounds great. I am a fairy tale fan. My favorites are Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.

Laurie said...

I too love Belle and her book reading in Beauty and the Beast. The caring she showed for her father, the characters she met at the castle and of course towards the Beast. His return to a caring, lovable man. It has always been my favorite fairy tale.

Your Cinderella story sounds cute too. You always want what you don't have. Also, be careful what you wish for. Hope that Ali can reveal her real self to Joe!!

krisgils33 said...

yup, fairy tales are awesome. congrats on the new release, sounds really interesting!

Betina Krahn said...

Charlene, a great blog! Fairytales are the basis for most fiction, down at the base of things. Even the "grim" tales of horror and crime are based on themes first explored in fairy tales-- of the Grimm variety.

I'm gonna have to go back and read again some of that Bruno Bettleheim stuff on fairytales. . . he was a scholar and a half and a good friend of my former agent, years ago. Scholarship backs us up on this one, guys!

Michele Hauf said...

Love that you use fairy tales for inspiration. My fav is the mermaid tales that aren't necessarily as 'sweet' as Disney has made it. Ondine (movie) was a great example of that. And did you see Disney is finally doing Rapunzel? Calling it Tangled. It looks great, and maybe more focused on hero than heroine. Interesting.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome, Charlene!

Ah, fairy tales. Have you ever wondered where the old stories would be today without Disney? When we hear those names, the image that pops into our heads is straight out of a Disney movie. But I do remember the beautiful illustrations from the older books I had as a kid, and I've collected some of those for my grandchildren.

I love the way the Disney movies still please the kids and the kids at heart.

Virginia C said...

Hi, Charlene! Now I know why you write such wonderful romance reads--the fairy tales did it!!! They were the earliest contact that many of us had with the romance and adventure of earlier times. Beautifully illustrated books with wondrous fables of a fair maiden swept away into happiness by a handsome prince! Then came Disney. Animated movie magic with a singing fair maiden and her equally vocally gifted handsome prince! Ahhh, then things got juicier...romance books replaced the fairy tales. The fairy godmothers were replaced by Georgette Heyer, Jane Aiken Hodge, Barbara Cartland and Jane Austen. Childhood whimsy turned into a young girl's fancy!

I very much love the TV musical special of "Cinderella" with Lesley Ann Warren. Here is one of the wonderful songs from that production:

"Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"

Prince:
Do I love you because you're beautiful,
or are you beautiful because I love you?
Am I making believe I see in you a girl too lovely to be really true?
Do I want you because you're wonderful,
or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream
or are you really as beautiful as you seem?

Cinderella:
Am I making believe I see in you a man too perfect to be really true?
Do I want you because you're wonderful,
or are you wonderful because I want you?

Both:
Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream
or are you really as wonderful as you seem?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Last year in 2nd grade my granddaughter had to read 10 Caldecott winners one month. I bought several of them, and one was a beautifully illustrated version of Rapunzel, based on the original tale. The story is much fuller and richer than any I remember reading before. A bit more mature, too.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, I do love "Once Upon a Dream." No matter what we're doing when we hear it, the grands and I start waltzing.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Leanne - thanks for the kind words!! I agree there's a little bit of Cinderella in all of us!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Jane - We share a love for Beauty and the Beast! I even love Shrek - if you'd consider that a fairy tale. Such great love stories!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Pam - That was a special night with my daughter. It's one of those happy memories that will stick in your mind forever. Thanks for your post!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Helen - thanks for your comments. Everyone seems to love Beauty and the Beast. I remember seeing the Disney play on a big stage- a graduation event for my daughter with all of her friends. There's just something so special about that story!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi CrystalGB - Great to see you here!! Those are the BEST fairy tales!! IMHO

Charlene Sands said...

Laurie - It was fun writing Ali and Joe's story. It was just one of those tales that practically wrote itself because I knew the characters so well. I'm happy with all 3 covers for the Napa Series. They depict the essence of the wine country and I LOVE the romance of that beautiful place!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi krigils33 - Thanks so much for congrats!!

Hi Betina - Great point about those Grimm fairy tales!! Oh, I wish there were little ones in the house so I had a legitimate excuse to re-read all of those fairy tales!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Michele H - Yes I did see a trailer for Tangled! I can't wait for it to come out. I hope they stick closely to the real storyline. I don't think we should mess with the original tales. They are too good!

Hi Kathleen - Yes I do remember those lovely illustrations. I'd have to dig into my attic to find those books I have stored away to see them again. There was so much detail and color and they had a classic feel to them.

My friend is a Cinderella nut - and her hubby found a Thomas Kincade painting he did of the castle and surroundings. He surprised her with it. What a guy!
I can't wait to see it!!

Charlene Sands said...

Virgina - Wow!! What great lyrics to that song. Truly! Thanks for posting them and for your lovely compliements! I guess we all have a little fairy tale princess in all of us, don't we? And yes, many books are written with those themes in mind. Beauty and the Beast is a great example of a tortured hero.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi again Kathleen - Me too! Whenever I hear that song, Once Upon a Dream, I can't help singing along with it and dancing! Wish I had little ones here to dance with. And I'm glad you 2nd grade granddaughter is reading those classics!

It's a good thing Disney brought them to light in beautifully made movies, or maybe most young girls wouldn't get to know the stories!

Virginia C said...

Hey, Charlene! Thank you for this wonderful post. Little girls' dreams are the imaginings that later lead to big girls' fantasies. The fact that you understand that so well, and that you still have that "fairy tale" feeling in your heart, makes you a great romantic storyteller.

"Beauty and the Beast" is my all-time favorite fairy tale (Cinderella is close behind). I fall for the lovelorn "beast" every time! I love "Beauty and the Beast". Does it not touch on aspects of human nature which are far uglier than the cursed Beast? Does that make the love story even sweeter? To truly love someone is to love them with your mind, and see them in reality, and to soften that image by seeing them with your heart.

Kathleen O said...

I think there is a little fairytale junkie in all of us... I know the song that keeps coming through my head readin this is: Someday My Prince will Come.. and I am still waiting for mine Prince Charming.. Of course his white stead will be a nag and his armour a little rusty. But hey we take our Prince Charmings flaws and all..

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Charlene - great post! Brought back such lovely memories of my own journey through the library searching for new fairy tale stories - absolutely loved them as a child and still do today.

And to whoever mentioned the rodgers & hammerstein version of cinderella - my high school music teacher had us learn to sing most of the songs - can remember the words to this day - even sung them to my own children as lullabies

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Charlene, Oh, I was raised on Disney and one of my favorite childhood books was Fifty Famous Fairy Tales. Sigh. Snow White is still the favorite around here. Our daighter's favorite. I still buy her a Snow White knick knack or aritifact every Christmas even though she's all "growed up." The best she ever played in a piano recital was the theme from Beauty and the Beast...My favorite song is Sleeping Beauty's. Like you, I'm a fairy-tale girl through and through. Congrats on your summer series! oox

Linda Broday said...

Fairy tales are magical. They make you believe and even show you that anything is possible if you have faith and try hard enough. I too love the romance in fairy tales. There's something about the handsome prince sweeping Cinderella off her feet. And I love the happily ever after. I've known the love of a handsome prince. And I've known what happens when two hearts collide. It was simply....well, magical.

Good luck with your new release. It sounds wonderful.

Ann Lethbridge said...

Charlene, you reminded me of all the evenings reading to my daughters before bedtime. Fairy tales were where we started and I even had a book going back to my childhood, to read to them.
For a favorite, it is hard to decide between Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, but I think I will plump for the latter, because raqs to riches is one of those things we can all dream of and it is such fun to read in any genre.
Great post and so looking forward to reading your new book.
Ann

Charlene Sands said...

Kathleen O - You made me laugh with your comments! Yes, we'll take the prince charming with flaws and all!

Suzanne Lazear said...

I love fairy tales, too (which is why I wrote one, lol). But I lean more towards forklore than the Disney fairytales. Tho I do love sparkly tiaras...

KylieBrant said...

Welcome, Charlene! I'm not much of a fairy tale junkie now but I did read and re-read them when I was a kid. And come to think of it, many of my favorite romantic movies could probably be aligned with a matching fairy tale plot that they followed!

Keri Ford said...

Little Mermaid is my very favorite. I love her adventure spirit, how she refuses to let anything hold her down. Ah, and then the ending just makes it icing.

Sleeping Beauty is very close second.


Kathleen! Disney is doing a take on Rapunzel! It's called Tangles (Tangled?). It was advertised during ToyStory3 and looks super cute. Looks like it's goign to be a lot fun and super cute.

Virginia C said...

Mike Douglas, best known for his long-running daytime talk show, was the singing voice of the Prince in Disney's "Cinderella". Mike had a fine Irish tenor voice, and was also a top-notch big band singer early in his career.

Mary Connealy said...

My first book was a sort of twist on Sleeping Beauty.

Uh...it's never gotten published. Still, I love it.

Cheryl St.John said...

For my daughter, Kristin, my grandaughter, Alexis and I, it's Mulan. "Let's get down to business - to defeat the Huns!" We have a Mulan Sunday afternoon every so often, and the the guys predicatably head for the hills while we sing our hearts out.

My favorite plot devise is someone pretending to be someone they're not, which is just what Mulan does to take her father's place in the army and preserve the good name of their family.

LSUReader said...

My favorite is Beauty and the Beast. My grown daughter loves The Little Mermaid. But it was the Sleeping Beauty song you mentioned, Once Upon a Dream, that I used to sing to her night after night at bedtime. Love those stories. Thanks for a fun column.

gigi said...

Hi Charlene!
I am a card carrying member of the
Fairytale junkie club.

Disney's Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast are my all time Favorites. I cried years ago at the Cinderella ending. This was back when they started re releasing the old movies I had seen as a kid.
As for a new fairytale I loved the movie Enchanted. I have gotten my moneys worth out of that DVD.

Now I know why I enjoy your stories so much, we are kindred spirits when it comes to the kind of stories we love to watch and read.

Vicki said...

Hi Charlene! Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite fairy tale for as long as I can remember. I like Rapunzel too, though I've never written a heroine trapped in a tower!

Lisa McManus Lange said...

Yes, the fairy tale themes DO resonate with me. Big fan of them, especially when as a kid; always dreaming of prince charming! Great blog entry!

ForestJane said...

My favorite fairy tale? Puss in Boots. ;) Smart, swaggering cat that saves the day.

My second favorite would be the one we learned in Brownie Scouts, about the Brownies that did good deeds. I tried leaving a dish of milk under my bed for them for a while, 'til Mom noticed the sour smell and made me throw it out.

Leanne said...

Charlene isn't being snooty. She has tried a bunch of time to respond to you, but blogger is being mean and not letting her THANKS to all of you for your comments. I'm thrilled that her blog gave you a lift.:)

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Everyone - I had the WORST problems with my computer after I posted this morning. I'm NOT ignoring you-- I did read all the posts but I couldn't get my comments to work. I hope this one comes thru!!

Love all the comments and learning what you favorite fairy tales are!!

Sheree said...

Hi! I don't know which fairytales are my favorite, but my least favorites are "The Goose Girl" (which gave me nightmares with the evil maid's punishment) and "Rumpelstiltskin" (in which the miller is the worst father in fairytale history by putting his daughter in mortal danger for no apparent reason than to get her out of the house).

I suppose if "Mulan" is considered a fairytale, then that would be my favorite (the Disney movie is loosely based on a Chinese poem written either in the 6th century or the 12th century).

Cheryl said...

Hi Charlene,
Great post--I was born in 1957, so I saw all those wonderful Disney movies the first time around. LOL I loved Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. ONCE UPON A DREAM is my favorite Disney song. I was a classically trained pianist, and though I don't get to practice much any more, I have a Disney songbook I play out of a lot, and that's always the first song I play. The words and the music are just so perfect. Thanks for such a great post. I really did enjoy this!
Cheryl P.

Robin said...

Hi, Charlene! I love fairy tales too! And what a wonderful way to spend the night before your daughter's wedding! It's tough to pick one favorite. I guess I'll go with The Little Mermaid. But I love Cinderella too.

Great post! Loved reading it! And I can't wait to read your book! :)

chey said...

Congratulations!
I don't think I have a favourite. I like them all!

Linda Henderson said...

Sleeping Beauty has always been my favorite too. For some reason I've never cared that much for Cinderella, I think it just frustrates me because I'd like to see her smack her stepsisters. I also like Mulan, she was a very strong heroine, and loved Drew Barrymore in the movie Ever After.

catslady said...

Add me to the Beauty and the Beast fan. Very romantic. There was another fairy tale about swans. Brothers came to their sister's aid and she had to knit them a cloak with nettles to get rid of the curse but the very last cloak wasn't finished in time and the last brother always had a wing instead of an arm. I always felt so sorry for him lol.

Deborah Hale said...

I'm a fairy tale junkie too, Charlene, and love finding ways to mix them into my stories. The whole idea of "Cinderella's Beauty Makeover" is such a cool twist on the theme! That's for such a fun, thought-provoking blog!

karenk said...

love fairytales...especially cinderella :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com