{Giveaway/Guest Post/Excerpts} The Once Upon a Time Today Collection by Heidi Garrett

3 Awesome Short Stories that chronicle the journey of a girl who believes in fairy tales.

These Contemporary Fairy-Tale Fantasies, published by Half-Faerie Publishing, are preludes to Heidi Garrett's Once Upon a Time Today  collection!

Keep reading below for achance to win a $25 gift card, exclusive t-shirt, and "Happily Ever After" Bracelet (I'm jealous...I want that bracelet! LOL!)!!

Each book synopsis below is also followed by a special excerpt just for you, and author Heidi Garrett has shared an awesome guest post about her mermaid research for the next short story in her collection. I'm really excited to share it with you!!! You know how near and dear mermaids are to my heart!

Check back soon on A Twist in the Tail Thursday for reviews from this whimsical new series!

Want even more cool mermaid extras?
Check out my mermaid-themed excerpt from Heidi Garrett's TRUE LOVE'S FIRST KISS!

Mermaid Research
with Heidi Garrett

I’m so excited to begin working on the second novella in the Once Upon a Time Today collection. It’s going to be a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I adore mermaids because mermaids are all about having some kind of magical connection to the water, and like many, I’ve always enjoyed any time I’ve spent around rivers, lakes, and oceans.

As I’m hoping to put a creative twist on the retelling, I’ve begun researching mermaid tales. My research began on Thanksgiving Day when I watched the movie Ondine with my husband. The movie’s product description on Amazon is a good one:

ONDINE is the story of Syracuse, a simple fisherman who catches a beautiful and mysterious woman in his trawler nets. The woman seems to be dead, but then she comes alive before Syracuse’s eyes, and he thinks he may be seeing things. However, with the help of his irrepressible daughter, Annie, he comes to believe that the fantastical might be possible and that the woman (Ondine) might be a myth come true. Ondine and Syracuse fall passionately in love, but just as we think the fairytale might go on forever, the real world intercedes.

Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachelda, and Alison Barry deliver beautiful performances in this enchanting story. The scenes where Alicja’s character sings to the fish are simply gorgeous, and Alison Barry’s scenes where she indulges in her belief/hope that Bachelda’s character is a selkie will have you believing and hoping right along with her.

The story is set in Ireland and the scenery adds to the movie’s fairy tale feeling. I won’t share any spoilers, but I’ve found myself thinking about this movie a lot in the past few weeks. It’s a great example of a contemporary fairy tale. There are no faeries and the “magic” is more one of perception; there are no talking beasts and no one is casting any spells. At its heart, Ondine is a tale of transformation, and for me, that’s what fairy tales are. By capturing a sequence of specific events—events that routinely entail elements of faith, hope, and justice—fairy tale’s crystallize a main character’s transformation.

In the movie Ondine, Syracuse is the main character. His transformation is the central one. His daughter’s faith, and the hope of the drowning woman he pulls from the ocean, are the catalysts. But it’s Syracuse who must surmount the internal and external obstacles that limit his existence.

The next mermaid tale I delved into was Alice at Heart by Deborah Smith. Smith’s inventive Water People who make their home off the Georgia coast had me completely intrigued.The main character, Alice, knows she’s different; the story is about her transformation, as she discovers the truth about who she is, and her family’s shared history with a mysterious man who she can sing too beneath the water.

The Water Tales: Aquamarine and Indigo by Alice Hoffman are the next mermaid tales on my research list, and I can’t wait to read them!

Thank you for telling us a little about your mermaid research, Heidi!
Mermaids fascinate me, and I have a shelf full of mermaid/selkie/etc. books myself!
I've seen Ondine and know of AQUAMARINE (Didn't realize it had a sequel!!), but haven't heard of ALICE AT HEART. I'll need to look into that one!
Short Story #1:

-Title: The Girl Who Watched for Elves (Once Upon a Time Today #0.0)

-By: Heidi Garrett

-Published: October 24th, 2013

-Pages: 27


Do you believe in fairy tales?

One afternoon, a young woman visits a tarot reader. When he interprets the images in a twenty-card spread, she begins to understand her past, present, and future, in a new way.

Follow her transformational journey as she rediscovers a sense of life's magic.


If you don’t have a Kindle reader, you can find an app for any device here!

Excerpt from 
by Heidi Garrett: 

The first card in the tarot reader’s tableaux, depicted a smirking man, sneaking away, his arms full of swords. “Everything was lies and deception,” the tarot reader said.
The girl’s tongue itched. “It’s what my family knew best—how to hide the truth. Carefully layered in lies like butter rolled into dough when you make a croissant.”
The tarot reader nodded, encouraging, as his gaze dropped to the spread configured before him. He pointed to a second card that looked like a medieval tower exploding. Bodies flew through the air.
“Yes, it was kind of like that after my father won the custody battle.”
The young woman squirmed—they’d reached the part of the story she hated the most, because it brought her to the last day she saw her mother alive. She was not quite five.


Short Story #2:

-Title: The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes (Once Upon a Time Today #0.5)

-By: Heidi Garrett

-Published: October 19th, 2013

-Pages: 31


When she listens to the cantadora tell an old fairy tale, her life changes.

Disconnected from her spirit, a young woman lives a life of longing. She feeds herself reckless amounts of doughnuts and candy, but there's never enough to fill the void inside her.

What will?

She comes across an audiobook exploring an old fairy tale, and can't resist buying it. When she gets home, and listens to the story of The Red Shoes, the threshold between her dreams and daydreams begin to blur...

If you don’t have a Kindle reader, you can find an app for any device here!

Excerpt from 
by Heidi Garrett: 

There was a young girl, an orphan, who lived in the forest. She scraped out a meager existence, living on nuts, berries, mushrooms, and whatever vegetation she could find. As lonely as she often was, there was also a happiness in her heart. She loved to come across squirrels running with nuts in their paws, or chipmunks playing hide and seek in the dirt and the brush. She also loved to rest in the cradle of low-lying branches and watch for blue jays. The most magical days, were the ones where she might catch a glimpse of the robin’s red breast, because red was her favorite color in the world.
The girl drank from rivers and streams, and sometimes, if she hid in the long grass and didn’t move at all, she might see a doe bring its fawn to drink. On rare occasions, the antlered buck might join them, regal and proud.
At night, the girl searched for grassy meadows, so she might sleep beneath the stars, and when the days got shorter and colder, she’d search for large rocks that she could burrow against.
Everyday she wore the same tattered dress, but sometimes she came across a swatch of dirty, but colorful cloth, dropped by a sparrow or a mouse. The girl collected these strips. When her pockets were stuffed with them, she went about dying them with raspberry juice so they would be red, like the breast of her favorite bird.

She began to collect string, and one day, she came across a needle in an abandoned nest. Within a few days, the girl had created a pair of red shoes, of sorts. They were funny little slippers, but they kept her toes from freezing, and softened the pinch of pebbles she walked on. The girl came to cherish them more than anything, because she’d made them.


Short Story #3:

-Title: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sing (Once Upon a Time Today #0.75)

-By: Heidi Garrett

-Published: November 3rd, 2013

-Pages: 29


Heather Baker struggles to find the balance between fantasy and reality in her everyday life. Enticed by Neptune, the planet that rules everything hazy and glamorous--she's desperate to become the next indie singer/songwriter sensation. Dogged by Saturn, the planet that rules obstacles and everything practical--she's confronted with the limitations of her abilities and talent. Which planet will win?

***Includes links to songs from the original CD, The Faith of a Crucified Child, and the DVD, My Name is Heather Baker, Welcome to My World***


If you don’t have a Kindle reader, you can find an app for any device here!

Excerpt from
by Heidi Garrett: 

“You can’t sing.”
It just couldn’t be true. Heather Baker slid her Takamine guitar into its fur-lined case.
Artistic success was ninety-nine-percent perspiration. That meant, raw talent accounted for a measly one-percent. If you worked hard enough, you could achieve anything.
That’s what Heather believed, and that’s what she would continue to believe.
The woman was just plain wrong—plain and wrong. She didn’t have the courage to attempt something amazing, or face anything that terrified her.
She’d probably never even colored outside the lines.
Heather left the studio and headed for her red Isuzu pickup. Every interior entrance and exit in her mind was on lockdown. The echoing statement beat against her inner windows and doors, like a frenzied bird. She refused to count the number of voice teachers who’d made similar declarations. It was too painful.
Dreams of being on stage and strumming her guitar, with a hot flamenco rhythm, while she sang like an angel, were what kept her going.
What would she do without them?

She slammed the truck door and gunned the engine.

Book 1 of the Once Upon a Time Today Collection

A Contemporary Fantasy Fairy-Tale Romance, published by Half-Faerie Publishing

-Title: Beautiful Beautiful (Once Upon a Time Today #1)

-Author: Heidi Garrett

-Published: November 15th, 2013

-Pages: 90


Every night, Kerrin tells her daughter a fairy tale. Mirabella's favorite is "Beauty Beauty"--the story of when her mother met her father. As Kerrin spins the tale wrapped around the most dark, and equally light, period in her life, she considers these questions:

What is beauty? When is it nourishing... And when is it treacherous?

Indie-film director, Kerrin Mayham was the frontrunner for the Golden Pinnacle's "Director of the Year." Winning meant generous financial backing for her next project, and the most beautiful men in the industry competing for the leading role of Demion Glass. The opportunity Kerrin had sacrificed to achieve was within reach. So were her personal demons.
The core story is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale "Beautiful," and the novella is the first release in Heidi Garrett's Once Upon a Time Today collection. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. (Adult language & situations, no explicit sex)


Excerpt from 
by Heidi Garrett: 

The doorbell rang.
“Would you get that, Norah?”
Joanie worked on Kerrin’s chignon. That morning, Norah and Joanie had taken her to breakfast. The three had spent the rest of the day at the spa together. Then her two friends had followed her home.
“You’ve got company,” Norah called from the hall.
“I wasn’t expecting anyone,” Kerrin yelled back.
“You’ll want to see these people. I’m bringing them to the bedroom.”
“Is she kidding?” Joanie pulled her hands away from Kerrin’s head.
Kerrin frowned as her hair fell from the loose knot that wasn’t really working.
She glanced around her bedroom. It looked like a moving company had delivered a roomful of boxes and up-ended each one before they’d left. She’d been hunting for her grandmother’s rhinestone pumps. The ones Hannah had worn on her wedding day, eighty years ago to the date.
As far as Kerrin was concerned they were magic shoes—doubly enchanted today, and if she wore them, she’d definitely win. The problem was, she’d forgotten all about them. Until two hours ago, they’d been shoved out of the way, along with a lot of other stuff Kerrin had never bothered to unpack, when she’d moved into her home.
Now they perched on the rosewood chest at the end of her bed, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, but the rest of the room was a wreck.
Norah led a young man and woman through the pile of boxes. Dressed casually, the man in jeans, the woman in leggings, they tactfully ignored the mess.
Kerrin smiled at them before crossing her eyes at Norah. Joanie cleared one of the chairs, trying to create a place to sit.
Norah handed Kerrin a creamy envelope and velvet embossed box. “Frank’s studio sent these, along with Mel and Lynn to do your hair and makeup.”
Kerrin’s name was written on the envelope in calligraphy. Things like this didn’t happen when you directed indie films. By the time shooting was over, you were fortunate if there was any budget left for a wrap party.
“If you’ll sit down,” Lynn pointed to the vanity. “I’ll get started on your makeup. Mel will do you hair.”
Norah raised her eyebrows as Kerrin ripped open the envelope. “Frank looks forward to seeing me tonight.”
Joanie made a crude gesture.
Kerrin tilted her head towards Lynn and Mel, waiting patiently for her to sit down, so they could do what they’d come to do.
“Open the damn box,” Norah said.
Kerrin handed her Frank’s note. Her hands shook as she opened the expensive case. When she saw what was inside—an exquisite diamond choker—she couldn’t help but exclaim.
Joanie squealed and slapped her butt. The girl had a one-track mind.
“It’s going to look perfect with your gown,” Norah said.
The backdrop of the final, breath-stopping scene, in A Scorched Heart, had been a setting sun. A nod to those closing frames, the colors in her sunset-inspired gown, progressed from its blue-gray bandeau bodice, through lavender, gold, and orange, to end in a fierce train of red. Kerrin appreciated the aesthetics as much as the fairy tale princess motif.
Her gaze roamed over the chaos of boxes. Bittersweet memory tugged her heart. In one of them was a junkyard crown—one she’d used to play dress up, when she was a child.
“Honey, that bling would make a dirty sheet look good,” Joanie brought her back to the present.
Kerrin couldn’t laugh at the lame joke. She was too touched by a sense of enchantment.
“It was made to go with my grandmother’s shoes.”
Mibi clapped her hands. “Magic shoes!”
“Made of diamonds,” Kerrin exaggerated.
“Were they expensive?”
“They were a gift from her fairy godmother.”
Mibi folded her arms across her chest. “I wish I had a fairy godmother.”
“I’m sorry, honey, only orphans get fairy godmothers.”
“Was the girl an orphan?”
“That’s sad,” Mibi said.
“It is.”
“So she got magic shoes instead of a family?”
“Something like that.”
“What happened next?”


About the Author

Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairytale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. The Original Fairy Tale short stories: The Girl Who Watched For ElvesThe Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn’t Sing are a prelude to that collection.

She is also the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series, a fairy tale/high fantasy mashup about a young half-faerie, half mortal woman who must save both the Enchanted and Mortal Worlds.

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. Heidi now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.

Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow, and hopes to remind readers that:

Once upon a time, you lived in an enchanted world…

Learn more about Heidi and enjoy her stream-of-consciousness reading journal, Eating Magic, at: www.heidigwrites.blogspot.com

If you want to say Hello, give her a shout out on Twitter: www.twitter.com/heidigwrites

She is now on Facebook: www.facebook.com/heidigwrites


5 Winners!!

1st Place: $25 Amazon Gift Card, 1 Exclusive T-Shirt, and 1 “Happily Ever After: Bracelet
2nd - 5th Place: 1 Exclusive T-Shirt and 1 “Happily Ever After” Bracelet

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Open December 8th - 23rd

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  1. Bonnie, Thank you for having me on A Backwards Story and creating such a great post with all the stories! I'm so glad you like the Mermaid Research and thank you for linking back to the mermaid in True Love's First Kiss. That's one of my favorite scenes, cause I guess I love mermaids too:D I'm really looking forward to the Alice Hoffman cause she's one of my favorite authors, so I'm really curious to see what she did with her mermaids. It's so fascinating and fun to read all the different ways mermaid stories are told! Thanks again, Bonnie!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting for this book party Bonnie! I love your post, and your blog is so cute!! :D


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