Monday, November 19, 2012

New Release: Beau & the Beast

We have a winner! Susan Laine wins the free copy of BEAU AND THE BEAST. Susan, I will be in touch with you via e-mail. And. if you didn't win, won't you consider buying a copy here

At the heart of the classic fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast" is a classic love story, emotional and touching, about the redemptive and transformative power of love.

That's what made me want to do a modern-day gay version of the tale, set right here in my hometown of moody, rainy Seattle...and the windswept, snowy peaks of the Cascade Mountains nearby. I used the original story as a springboard and inspiration for my tale of two lost souls whom tragedy brings together and to demonstrate how love is possible, even against the most impossible of odds.

To celebrate the release of "Beau and the Beast" from Amber Allure, I will give away an e-copy to one lucky winner. Winning is as simple as 1, 2, 3:

1. Ask me a question about the story. Here's your chance to get the inside scoop on my process and more. Can't think of a question about the story, go ahead, ask me anything.
2. Leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
3. Gain bonus points for posting about the contest on Twitter and/or Facebook (for example, you could simply cut and paste the following: Check out Rick R. Reed's modern-day, gay take on Beauty & the Beast, BEAU & THE BEAST and be entered to win a free copy. http://bit.ly/S7q2wE ) Winners will be announced on Wednesday.

That's it. Now, if you want to know more about the story--and how I made it my own, read the synopsis and excerpt below. And if you can't wait for the contest and want to buy your own copy at the bargain price of only $2.60 (a 35% savings--for release week only), go here.

SYNOPSIS
Inspired by the timeless tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, Rick R. Reed has crafted a new fairy tale for our times that manages to be ethereal, romantic and ripped-from-the-headlines realistic.

Beau is a down-on-his-luck street artist living on the streets of Seattle, drawing portraits of tourists to make enough money to live hand-to-mouth. He has a knack for capturing his subjects’ “very souls” on paper. One rainy night, he is accosted by a group of fag-bashing thugs, intent on robbing him of his art supplies and humiliating Beau for who he is. Beau is beaten into unconsciousness...

...And awakens in a beautiful bedroom, his head bandaged and with no memory of how he got there. Outside his window pine trees and mountain vistas beckon.

Beau’s tale grows even more mysterious when a large, muscular man begins bringing the injured Beau his food. The man says nothing—and wears a wolf mask. When he finally does speak, it’s only to tell Beau to call him “Beast.”

What secrets does the wolf mask hide? What do these two outsiders have in common? And will their odd circumstances bring them to the brink of love—or tear them apart? The answers lie in Rick R. Reed’s haunting love story that reveals that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

EXCERPT 
...“So you brought me here? Where is here, anyway? And why didn’t you just take me to a hospital?”

“One question at a time.” The man paused, as though he were pondering which question to answer first, prioritizing them. “I thought about taking you to a hospital, but I don’t like to have much contact with other people. It’s a long story, but let’s just say I don’t have healthy memories of my time among them. I did, however, examine you, right there in the street, checking to see how severe your cuts and bumps were. I was able to determine, best I could, that while you looked like hell, nothing had happened to you that couldn’t be fixed with time and care.”

The wolf’s face turned to Beau and he could feel the man’s gaze upon him. “I still don’t know if I made the right choice. Your admission that you don’t remember what happened to you concerns me; perhaps I need to reconsider.

“In any event, I checked you over and determined that you needed help, so I brought you here, to my home. We are in a remote area east of Seattle, in the foothills of the Cascades. I had this house built for me to meet my need for solitude. I did not bring you here to keep you against your will; let me make that clear. You are free to leave whenever you like.”

Beau looked around him. He had never, in his whole life, been ensconced in such comforting and comfortable surroundings. Still, this was weird. “My things? Where are my things?”

The man put a gentle hand on Beau’s knee. “You had nothing, just the clothes on your back and those were torn and bloody.” He paused. “I had to throw them away. We’ll see that you get some new ones when you want to go.”

The man said nothing for several moments, and then went on. “I think you should stay with me for a few more days. Get yourself more properly healed and then, when you’re ready, I will not only see that you are clothed, but that you have safe transport back to Seattle. And if you need, we can also get you to a doctor. I suspect, though, you’re still in a bit of shock and that’s affected your memory.”

“Why would you do this?” Beau wondered.

“Why wouldn’t I? What kind of beast would I be if I left you all alone, bleeding and hurt, in that alley? I only did what I would want someone to do for me if the tables were turned.”

“But all of this….” Beau gestured to the room with his hand. “All of this seems above and beyond the call.”

“Perhaps for some. I suppose I could have left you at an emergency room and washed my hands of you. But that’s not me. I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty to bring you here.”

“I don’t know what to think. I wish I could remember what happened.” But Beau wasn’t so sure he wanted that wish granted. Already, shadowy images were swirling around in his memory, hooded figures, cold—and they filled him with dread.

“You will.” The man stood. “Now, I think you should eat before everything gets totally cold. There’s roast chicken there….” He took a few steps toward the door. “In the morning, I’ll bring you some clothes and we can go outside, if you feel up to it.”

The man was closing the door behind him.

“Wait!” Beau called after him. “Who are you? You haven’t told me who you are.”

The man turned slightly and gestured toward the mask. “Just call me Beast.” He chuckled, but the sound carried no mirth, only despair. “It’s what I am, anyway.”

Before Beau could say anything else, Beast had closed the door...

***

Remember, if if you can't wait for the contest and want to buy your own copy at the bargain price of only $2.60, go here.

"Beau and the Beast" is just one of five great m/m takes on classic fairy tales. Buy the whole set--ONCE UPON A FAIRY TALE--at a special price! Go here to check out the other titles in the collection.
 
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20 comments:

  1. Hi, Rick!

    Congrats on the new release. I like new twists of old fairytales. So, my question is: What made you choose this particular story over, say, any of the Grimm fairytales, as they are the most known?

    Oh, and may I say, I loved the little laugh by Beast at the end of the excerpt. His story is one I cannot wait to hear!

    All the best,
    Susan
    susan.laine@hotmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Susan,
      I think I wanted to do a version of this story because I think it's about, as it says in the excerpt, beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I wanted to show how tragedy and a shared bond can rise about physical limitations. For me, that was the ultimate message in the original story--that a prince lurked beneath the beast's exterior.

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    2. Aww, Rick, you're such a sweet romantic :)

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  2. Love retellings of classical stories. Esc. fairy tales and such. Count me in.

    Christopher Hammel
    christopherinwonderland@yahoo.com

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  3. It seems nowadays the Disney flick and its numerous spin-offs are what come to mind when people think of Beauty and the Beast, but for me it's - and always will be Jean Renoir's black & white film. Did either of these movies influence your retelling or did you stick to Beaumont's original?
    I read RENT yesterday, BTW. Good job!
    And yes, I'm about to FB your promo, though I don't think there's anyone I've "friended" whom you haven't.

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    Replies
    1. I love the Renoir film and I would say the mood of it certainly was in the back of my mind as I wrote Beau and the Beast. My version, though, is really inspired by the tale, rather than a retelling. Thanks for the kind words on RENT.

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  4. Hi, Rick! You don't have to count me in your contest, I went and bought the Pax earlier:) Looking forward to reading your story along with the others.

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    Replies
    1. Well, thank you for that. Hope you enjoy BEAU and all the other amazing stories in the collection.

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  5. Why a wolf mask? Is it a significant part of the story?

    Alisha Jordan
    alishajordan@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Oh, and I did facebook your blurb earlier, too.

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    2. Oh, it's very significant. I don't want to reveal too much, but the mask hides what befell one of the main characters and it also ties in with him wanting to be called, "Beast."

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  6. Hi Rick! Love the blurb and the excerpt. How did you develop Beau's character? You don't mention his physical "beauty" at all in the blurb or the excerpt, only his inner "beauty" in his talent. Most Beauty characters seem to fit a typical mold...dancer, model or even a rentboy! But Beau seems to break that mold.
    PS-congratulations to you & Bruce on your upcoming wedding, so very happy for you both!

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    1. If you read the story, you'll see there's a fuller description of Beau and he does, indeed, fit his name. He has hazel eyes and reddish hair, sort of an artsy allure.

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  7. Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite fairy tale! Many times authors create characters that have a little bit of them or their friends or family in them. Do Beast or Beau or any of the others in the story have a bit of you or who you know as their personality or gestures, etc?

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I supsect there'a s little bit of myself in all of my characters. The one in this story who is most like me is Beau, because of his artistic sensibilities and way of seeing the world.

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  8. Sounds like a great book. Please count me in. Thanks!

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  9. Rick, is there more to your Beast than a tormented soul trapped in a hideous body? Is there anything inherently or intrinsically "beastly" about him, other than exterior concerns? I love reworked fairy tales; the originals had little to offer, but are transformed by new twists on the same old stuff.

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, it isn't his body that's affected--it's his face. I don't think there's anything intrinsically beastly about him. He's a very gentle soul--despite his appearance, and that's a point the whole tale turns upon.

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  10. Wow, I won :) Thank you so much, Rick! I'm looking forward to this.

    All the best,
    Susan

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