Friday, March 27, 2015

The Darker Side

Recently while I was goofing off with a group of friends, the oh-so-popular topic of Disney villains was brought up, which led me to the question, "Which Disney villain do you think you're most like?" Some of their answers were fairly expected: One said Ursula, one was stuck between Scar and Maleficent... but when it came to my turn, I was surprised, and slightly disturbed, to find mine was Mother Gothel.
Why disturbed, you may ask? I've always considered Gothel one of the darker Disney villains. Gaston may be able to rouse a mob to attack his rival for Belle's hand, and Ursula may use you as a tool to get to your father, but Gothel will get into your mind, with no help from any sort of magic, mind you, and twist your doubts and your fears until they're all you can feel. Most Disney villains will fight you face to face while monologuing about how much they love being evil. Gothel will give you a hug and then stab you in the back.
More to the point, Gothel uses a strategy I absolutely hate: manipulation. She doesn't have to use magic or blackmail to get what she wants, because she knows how to get into your mind and use every doubt you've ever had until you don't know what to think anymore. As someone with depression, that idea truly frightens me. So, you may understand why I was so shocked to realize how similar she is to me.
Or, rather, how similar she is to me at my darkest points. The times when I become so bitter and angry that I shove aside everything I love about kindness and empathy for a taste of power or revenge. When I'm hurting so badly I want the world to hurt with me, because how dare they be happy with themselves when I can't be?
Maybe that's what scares me the most about Gothel - the fact that I recognize her.
In the end, maybe that's what everyone is most afraid of, when something as simple as a story creates such a deep-set fear: the darkest side of themselves.

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Surrogate Sea

This week marks the release of the newest Wilderhark Tale: The Surrogate Sea. To celebrate this most momentous of occasions, Wilderhark's gracious author Danielle E. Shipley has provided a letter she wrote to Wilderhark's dearest monarch: King Edgwyn Wile.

Dearest Edgwyn,

            I’m sorry I keep doing this to you. Exhausted as your own adventures have made you, I know you’d rather get put through it all again and again than watch your little ones struggle and suffer.
            I’m not a parent. Not technically. And of course I don’t love as wholly as you do. Still, I am author. My darling characters are my babies. I know what it is to hurt when they hurt, and to feel helpless to save them from life’s awful trials.
            And I never intended from the first to make things so hard with Lily. Yes, okay, the “Sun’s Rival” thing was a calculated choice, but hey. Curses happen. Ask your wife. With “Surrogate Sea”, though… That wasn’t my fault. And Edgwyn, sweetie, don’t for one moment think it was yours. Children will be children. Teenagers, it seems, will be teenagers. Humans will inevitably be human. Choices will often be bad.
            Maybe this isn’t the “happy ever after” you signed up for, back in Book Two. Then again, your heart’s one of the wisest I’ve ever seen. I’d not be surprised if you not only knew the risks, but embraced them.
            You deserve better than this, Edgwyn Wyle. But even an author-parent can only protect you from so much. You understand. Better than most.

Love you always,

            ~ Danielle

To pick up the latest in a series of charming retellings, head on over to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. And don't forget to take a look at the rest of the series!

And don't forget to check out other titles under the author! Check out her blog at for an exciting giveaway of Wilderhark swag!

As ever,
Fare thee well, friend!