Join Prince Leopold, persecuted for being gay, and the quirky questers who vow to free him in my modern twist on a classic fairy tale.
After years of strugging to conceive an heir, King Leonidas and Queen Annabeth are ecstatic to announce the birth of their son, Leopold. He grows up with the complete adoration of his mother and is raised learning all the skills necessary to one day inherit the throne. However, the boy soon learns how drastically one's life can change in an instant.
The story is often as dark as it is lighthearted, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. You'll never know what might happen next in this world filled with unicorns, dragons, swords, smart phones, social networks, and high-speed internet access. You may even begin to wonder if true love really can conquer all.
Excerpt (please bear in mind I am still editing):
The not-so-fearless foursome had spent the entirety of their second day walking and hoped for more productivity as they embarked on day three. Just ahead lay The Forest of the Five Deaths, which they had all agreed was the best place to begin their search. As they approached the forest entrance, they were greeted by many a foreboding sign…
“Enter at your own risk!”
“Are you sure about this?”
“This is a bad idea!”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”
“Welcome to Death! Population: YOU”
Amod’s nerves were working overtime as he read the signs, but he kept telling himself Leopold was worth it. He reluctantly pushed ahead of the group and took the first tense step into the woods. Only a few feet into the densely packed trees, a sign became visible. Amod read it aloud, “Welcome to the Zone of Roughly a Dozen Badgers, Two Mushrooms, and a Snake! Enjoy your death!” He glanced back to find the rest of his group looking just as confused as he felt. He stood dumbfounded until he noticed Jade moving to take point, a snap of her fingers commanding his full attention. With great caution, they proceeded.
Within a few moments, a chubby little badger waddled onto the path, blocking their way. He looked up at them and seemed innocent enough… until they tried to pass. As they neared his position, he gave a small but forceful hiss, and it was enough to cause them to think twice before getting any closer.
“What do we do?” Amod whispered.
“I rather think we should kick him,” Geoffrey announced, drawing the attention of the entire group.
“Be my guest,” urged Amod.
“Fine,” Geoffrey stepped forward and lightly toed at the creature. As soon as his foot was within its striking range, it lunged forward and latched onto the toe of his boot. “Get off of me, you insufferable beast! These are Italian leather! Have you no manners?” he shouted, shaking his foot until it loosed its grip. Once his foot was freed, he quickly jumped back behind his companions.
“How did that work out for you?” Jade asked, choking back laughter.
“Shut it!” Geoffrey exclaimed. “You think you could do any better?”
Jade drew her sword and glared contemptuously, “I do!”
“No, please! Don’t kill it!” Elizabeth cried.
Jade turned to the Princess, her eyebrow raised curiously, “Oh? It just tried to consume Don Juan Dumbass’ toe, and you’re worried about its safety?”
“It’s adorable!” Elizabeth replied in a girlish squeal.
Never taking her eyes off of her ridiculously naïve lover, Jade dropped her sword directly through the creature’s body, skewering it to the ground.
It gave a hideous shriek, which sent Elizabeth into hysterics. “Oh my god!” she squawked. “Why would you do that?”
“Kill or be killed, my dearest,” Jade replied, pulling her sword out of its lifeless carcass.
The girls’ eyes were locked on one another, both with steely resolve. Amod was also distracted by their silent encounter. Geoffrey, however, kept close watch of the badger that lay before them. Once the sword was removed, he was sickened to see its body begin to twitch. Soon though, his nausea turned to horror as he watched its wound healing before his eyes. He yearned to warn his friends, but he was unable to find the words. Still stunned into silence, he watched as roughly eleven more badgers emerged from the wood, and he began to frantically tap at Amod’s shoulder.
“What?” Amod asked, frustrated.
“M-m-m-more b-b-b-b-badgers!” Geoffrey stuttered.
Amod looked up to see that Jade’s recent kill was no longer dead and had been joined by more than a few friends. “Girls… GIRLS!” he shouted.
Both girls’ heads whipped toward him simultaneously. “What do you want?” Jade snapped.
He pointed at the path ahead, full of badgers, “I think we have a problem.”
*** Later in the same chapter ***
Everyone stopped, their gaze dropping straight to the earthen floor. Just a few feet in front of them, there lay a coiled snake. He didn’t appear to be too menacing, but neither had the badgers at first blush.
Elizabeth stepped forward, making sure to stay just out of his reach, and attempted to press on with her outpouring of love. “Hey there, little guy,” she said sweetly.
His forked tongue darted in and out of his mouth. “Hith,” he replied.
Geoffrey began to chuckle, but Amod elbowed him hard in the ribs to silence him.
“Awww… It’s okay,” Elizabeth continued. “We mean you no harm.”
“You aren’t going to make fun of my lithp?” the snake asked.
“Of course not,” Elizabeth assured him. “It’s not your fault. My name is Princess Elizabeth, and these are my friends… Amod, Jade, and Geoffrey.”
“My name is Jothua,” he said shyly.
Elizabeth extended her hand cautiously toward him, “Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Joshua.”
Joshua responded by offering her his tail, “Thank you for not mocking my thpeech impediment. You’re very kind, Printheth. You and your friendth may path.”
“That’s so sweet, Joshua. Thank you,” said Elizabeth, sincerely grateful. “Would you like to join us? We’re out searching for our lost friend, but we can always use some company.”
“Alath, I cannot. I have to thtay here,” Joshua replied, disappointed.
“Have you by any chance seen him?” Elizabeth asked.
“I haven’t, but I thall keep an eye out for him,” Joshua promised. “Good luck, kind Printheth. Journey thafely. I hope you find your friend.”
Elizabeth gently stroked his scaly head before they parted ways, “Be well, Joshua.”
Their journey had already become much stranger and more treacherous than any of them had anticipated. For inhabitants of enchanted Kingdoms, they weren’t entirely accustomed to creatures with such a high degree of articulation and magical skill, nor were they acclimated to any real level of danger in their more mundane daily lives. Once concerned with their overall lack of street-savviness, none of that seemed to matter anymore. It was blatantly obvious they weren’t in any ordinary forest, and it was going to take creativity and ingenuity to beat the foes they were certain still lay ahead of them.
Eternally grateful to the apparently brilliant Princess, the group moved forward very deliberately. Each of them nervous about what they might face next, they feared it could be even more terrifying and deadly than the badgers, mushrooms, and snake. They were, however, relieved to have survived their first real challenge. With one win under their belts, there was an air of cautious optimism, a genuine hope they might just make it out of the forest alive. If nothing else, they were finally all keenly aware that each member played an important role within their party, and their strength as a group came from trusting one another’s instincts in times of crisis. It stood to reason that any idea, no matter how daft it sounded, should be heard out and considered, and nothing could be written off based on absurdity alone. Normal rules no longer seemed to apply, which would take some time to get used to. Unfortunately, if the Prince were to be saved, time wasn’t a luxury they could afford to spare and had no choice but to process the situation whilst still moving forward.
** There are some much more serious moments in the story as well, but I believe this provides a good "feel" of what you could expect from my novel. **
The novel is already written and currently being edited before self-publication this summer. Funds will be used for the creation of the novel's website and to aid in commissioning the original artwork which will be featured on the website. Any additional funding will be used for purposes of promoting the novel once published.
Follow my progress at: http://megan-eli.tumblr.com/
Photo used with permission from Paul Reed.
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