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Welcome!

The Unfairy Tale - Audrey's Turn is an interactive work. Readers are invited to share comments, critiques, and suggestions. CAUTION: If you haven't finished reading the first book, resist the urge to peek at the excerpts on this blog - it will ruin the surprise! New to blogging? The first chapter excerpt is the oldest post - so start at the bottom and work your way up.

Note to readers: Beginning Saturday, April 13, 2013, the posts will be removed one by one, beginning with Chapter One - Excerpt 1. We are hoping to work with classrooms to create their own Sequel, using just the outline of the the UnFairy Tale Two.

If you are a middle school teacher (or student!) and would like to participate, check the email link through this Blog or theunfairytale.com.

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Questions? Contact the author at Lane@theunfairytale.com.

One quick reminder to posters: do not include identifying information (such as address or phone number). This is a public site, and the exchange of ideas is welcome, but be safe. (Remember, I'm a mother as well as an author).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The UnFairy Tale is now available in e-reader format for Kindle! Coming soon: Nook, Sony, and other e-readers. Check this site for the availability of the complete sequel The UnFairy Tale: Audrey's Turn by December, 2014.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Writer's Digest Judge's Commentary

Last year, I submitted The UnFairy Tale to a Writer's Digest contest. I'm proud to announce that The UnFairy Tale was rated 5 out of 5 in Character Development and Plot (and other categories, but those are my favorites).  The judge had this to say:

"Humor is the strength of this novel . . .   The dialogue is lively and comic . . . .  The prose is exuberant, appealingly happy about its own inventiveness.  It's wonderfully entertaining, but it's also instructive in showing how the imagination thrives on vivid details and a love of surprises . . . .  The ending . . . is funny and satisfying."




Visit The UnFairy Tale on Facebook and "Like" if you agree!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chapter One - Excerpt 2


“Sixth grade,” Amanda said with a sigh fully intended to convey a perfect blend of satisfaction and wistfulness. “Middle school. We’re not kids anymore, kids.”


“I for one am glad to leave childhood behind,” Audrey said somberly.


“You two are sure full of yourselves,” Linda said, throwing a pillow at Amanda.


Amanda threw it back, accidentally nicking Audrey on the elbow. Audrey lifted the hefty couch cushion—the seat, not one of the lesser throw pillows—and whomped Amanda over the head.


“Ow—that hurt.”


“Only a child would complain about getting hit with a pillow,” Linda sneered, with just a hint of the old unbearable Linda.


“Pillow fight,” Thomas yelled, diving into the gaggle of girls with a squeal of glee and grabbing the first thing he could find (which, unfortunately, was Amanda’s slipper, not a pillow at all).


“Don’t, Thomas,” Amanda cried, “it has a hard—“


“—sole,” Audrey finished sadly, rubbing her leg where said sole had landed.


“Thomas, we’re going to read. You have to go away now,” Amanda said sternly.


“I want to read, too,” Thomas said petulantly.


“You’re not old enough for this book,” Amanda said.


“And it’s just for girls,” Audrey added.


“Say it isn’t so, my dears,” Mrs. Grand said, entering the room carrying a pile of papers.


“Why?” Amanda asked.


“I’d hate to think only girls will read good books.”


“Why?” Amanda asked again.


“Because,” Mrs. Grand explained, “fully fifty percent of the world is made up of the male gender. You don’t want to exclude half the world’s children, do you?”


“We,” Audrey announced, “are not children.”


“Excuse me,” Mrs. Grand said. “I’d forgotten.”


“Will liked the first book,” Linda said. “Remember? Last year in detention?”


Amanda and Audrey groaned in tandem.


“You’ve jinxed us,” Amanda said.


“What?” Linda said.


“By mentioning detention on this, the eve of the first day of the new school year.”


“Oh,” Linda said, abashed.


“Pshaw,” Mrs. Grand said. “You brought detention on yourselves by the choices you made. You have free will, you know. You can choose to behave yourselves and avoid detention this year, or you can go off and do foolish, senseless things again, and take the consequences of your actions. There is no such thing,” she said, scooping a pillow from the floor and plumping it slightly before replacing it on the couch, “as a Jinx.”


The girls looked dubious, but assumed argument would lead to further delay in reading, and so they said nothing.


Mrs. Grand settled the book on her lap, and began.


§§§


“I miss our dear sister,” Audrey said with a sigh.


“As do I,” said Alyxandra, raking the crude wooden comb through her tangled and knotted auburn hair. “She could make sense of this mess on my head, at least!”


§§§


“Auburn!” Amanda exclaimed. “She has auburn hair!”


“Why yes, yes she does,” Mrs. Grand said, smiling bemusedly as if the significance had just occurred to her.


“Which one is Audrey again?” Audrey asked.


“The second oldest sister,” Linda said. “And Alyxandra is next. Don’t you remember? There were twelve kids.”


“Saints preserve us,” Amanda said. “Two is enough for any family, I always say.”


“You,” Audrey said, “are so weird.”


“Keep reading,” Linda urged.


§§§


“’Tis one long year since she left us,” Audrey continued, pausing in her task of filling a bucket with clear stream water.


§§§


“I thought stream water had giardia and other nasty bacteria,” Linda said.


“Not in the olden times,” Amanda said.


“Giardia comes from deer poop,” Audrey said. “Are you saying they didn’t have deer poop in the olden days?”


“They boiled their water before drinking it,” Mrs. Grand said, pursing her lips at the girls.


§§§


“Has been a good year for us,”Alyxandra pointed out, scowling as her comb hit a particularly obstinate snarl.
“True,” Audrey admitted. “Good things have come to us in goodly measure. And we had that message, from the far-off kingdom where she now resides, that Amanda is well and strong. And yet, oft it is I worry about her, and wonder whether we should not go after her, to offer aid and comfort.”


“You,” Alyxandra said matter-of-factly, “are the last person on this green earth who would go gallivanting into the wilds in search of kith and kin. You have not the adventuring spirit.”


Audrey said nothing, but hung her head. It was true, she knew. Amanda had the bold and saucy spirit among the older girls; Audrey was and had been always shy, obedient, and compliant.


§§§


“Thomas, I thought I told you to go away,” Amanda said.


“But I want to listen,” Thomas whined.


“No, you’ll bother us by doing cartwheels and picking your nose and rolling around on the floor.”


“Will not,” Thomas said.


“You’re doing it right now,” Amanda said, exasperated. “Besides, you’ll interrupt.”


“And of course,” Mrs. Grand said, “we can’t have anyone interrupting.”


The girls nodded in agreement, oblivious to the irony.


“All right, Thomas,” Mrs. Grand said. “Scoot on up to your room. Dad will be up in a few minutes to read to you and tuck you in.”


Thomas reluctantly faded from view, picking his nose (guilty as charged), wandering in the general direction of the basement stairs rather than the stairs to his bedroom. This was an old trick of his, and had often gained him an extra hour or two before bedtime, as each parent assumed the other had escorted Thomas to bed, only to find him downstairs quietly playing.


“Now then,” Mrs. Grand said.


“Wait,” Audrey said.


“Wait?” Three voices said.


“I’m not shy and obedient and—what is she called in the book?—‘compliant.’”


“No,” Mrs. Grand agreed. “Although you are practical, and sensible—all wonderful traits. But just wait and see. There may come a time when Audrey-in-the-book must take courage to step outside her natural character.”


“Okay,” Audrey said, sounding dubious.


§§§


            A sudden noise interrupted the girls’ conversation. It was Peter, the baker’s apprentice.


“Audrey! Alyxandra!” he called urgently, crashing through the underbrush. (“There is a path,” Alyxandra muttered.) “Come quick!”


“What is it?” Audrey said, suddenly pale.


“Your father,” Peter said. “The cart fell. He was delivering wood to Baker Samuel, when the axle broke, and the wood fell upon him. He is in a bad way, I’m afraid. You must come quickly, for he is calling for you.”


Quickly was not possible, unfortunately, as the town lay far from the outskirts of the fey forest where they lived, but the girls, wishing they had wings to fly, moved as quickly as they could through the woods, along the rutted track to the outskirts of town, and down the winding, cobbled streets to Baker Samuel’s home. There they found their father laid out on a makeshift bed of hay on the ground, in a dark corner. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light, the girls could just make out the mangled legs, the bloodied torso, and the ashen face, wrenched with pain.


“Father,” Audrey whispered, too horrified to cry.


“Don’t worry,” he said, summoning a ghastly smile that was clearly intended to be reassuring but failed utterly. “I’ll be fine. Just need to rest here, for a while.”


“Father,” Audrey whispered again.


“Stop saying that,” Alyxandra commanded. “What can we do, Father? Has the Barber been summoned?”


“Yes,” Baker Sam answered, approaching from behind. He had blankets in his arms.


Peter stood in the doorway, trembling and visibly aching to be useful. “Shall I fetch some water?” he said.


“Yes, boy,” Baker Sam answered, “and put it on to boil then.”


[This section withheld - you'll just have to wait until the sequel comes out to read this part!]
Alyxandra sensibly pulled her sister out of the house, to give the barber more room and light to work. When, a moment later, they heard their father cry out, she pulled her further down the street to sit on the low stone wall beside the town well.


“He’ll be fine,” she said, but even confident Alyxandra did not sound convinced.


Audrey looked around at the town as if seeing it for the first time. The sun shone merrily on the houses and store fronts, dilapidated and grandiose alike. The birds sang, and the town’s solitary horse stamped and huffed in the yard where he was tied. Everything looked exactly as it always did, and yet somehow, Audrey knew, from this moment forward nothing would ever be the same.


§§§


“That’s it?” Amanda said. “You’re going to leave us hanging, not knowing whether their father lives or dies, or whether one of them falls in love with Peter, the baker’s apprentice, or whether they ever hear from Amanda again?”


“I thought you didn’t like romance in your stories,” Mrs. Grand said.


“That was last year, Mom,” Amanda said. “I was just a kid then.”


“I’ll keep that in mind,” Mrs. Grand said without a trace of sarcasm (which was in itself a rather amazing feat).


“I thought it was perfect,” Linda said, “and I can’t wait to hear what happens.”
“Once a suck-up, always a suck-up,” Audrey said, and everyone, including Mrs. Grand, looked at her in surprise.


“Wait, isn't it my job to be tactless, and blurt out things without thinking?” Amanda said.


Audrey said nothing, and Mrs. Grand saved them from more awkwardness by announcing that there were more likely than not cookies in the pantry that were only slightly stale, if anyone was interested.


“Anyone!” Amanda shouted (a childhood game she and Audrey shared, that started when a very young Amanda had demanded to know who “anyone” was and why they would want cookies), and they scrambled to their feet to investigate.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chapter One - Excerpt 1


“I don’t believe spiders really do catch flies,” Mrs. Grand said with a grimace.
“Why do you say that, my dear?” Mr. Grand said, guardedly. Mrs. Grand’s explanations were, on occasion, something to be feared, and always, arrived at and pronounced without the least regard for anything that could be called logic or scientific analysis (and yet, Mr. Grand mused, he often found himself convinced, nevertheless).
“I believe it is a myth,” she said, cautiously approaching the subject of their conversation with a tissue. “The little things are so creepy, so hairy, so—so hideous. We tell ourselves they rid the world of insects because we want to imagine they have some purpose, some karmic role in the universe. Nothing can be altogether ugly and useless, after all.”
“It can’t?” Mr. Grand said.
“Yes it can,” Amanda said, peering around the corner from the kitchen where she was making her first-ever school lunch (you’re certainly old enough to make your own lunch, Mrs. Grand had said, and you always complain about the lunches I make, to which Amanda had muttered something about liverwurst and then beat a hasty retreat to avoid a lecture). “I can think of something both utterly ugly and utterly useless.”
“And that would be?” asked Mr. Grand, again fearing the answer yet drawn to the conversation as a moth flutters to the deadly flames.
“Clarence,” Amanda said, licking a glob of marshmallow fluff from her index finger. “Clarence the bug-eyed creep.”
“Nonsense,” said her mother. “You will find, as you mature”—Amanda scowled—“that Clarence has the potential,” she emphasized the word with care as she dispatched the offending arachnid to the next world, “for a beautiful and communicative soul. There, I’ve probably destroyed my karma for the next few lifetimes, but the rule is as clear as it is simple: No Spiders In The House.”
“Well, I guess we’ll never know,” Amanda said, “because Audrey told me yesterday that she overheard Marty say his uncle who works with Clarence’s dad told him Clarence is going to Silverton this year because his parents bought a new house in the Silverton neighborhood.”
“Well, that settles it, then,” Mr. Grand said. “With such an authoritative source, who could doubt the news?”
Amanda ignored the sarcasm.
“By the way,” her father said, “what is that you’re making for lunch?”
“Peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich,” Amanda said.
“Ye gods,” Mr. Grand said. “Margery, are we going to allow this?”
“Peanut butter and marshmallow are good for the psyche,” Mrs. Grand replied, unperturbed.
“It’s the body I was concerned about,” he muttered, but subsided lest the inimitable Mrs. Grand suggest he make the childrens' school lunches if he was concerned about their contents.
[This section withheld - you'll just have to read it when the book comes out!]
“I still wish the girl on the cover looked like me,” Amanda said.
“Oh but she's blonde, and you,” Mrs. Grand said, kissing the forehead of the pouting face, “are a ravishing auburn beauty.”
“Am not,” Amanda said. “My nose is too flat on the end and my legs are too skinny and my hair always looks as though I just finished playing with an electrical socket.”
Mr. Grand tried to catch Mrs. Grand’s eye, as this was the first time he’d heard such self-deprecation from his previously carefree child, but Mrs. Grand had her back turned.
“Beautiful you are and beautiful you will always be,” Mrs. Grand said.
“You just say that because you’re my mother,” Amanda said.
“Would you rather she insulted you?” Mr. Grand said, perplexed. Mrs. Grand shot him “the look,” and he withdrew, realizing feminine self-image and pre-adolescent angst were probably best left to the other female in the room.

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