WOODCUTTER’S GRIM SERIES—
Classic Tales of Horror Retold, Volume II Collection
by Karen Wiesner
Four Supernatural Fantasy Romance
This is the third of eight posts focusing
on my Woodcutter's Grim Series and the stories behind classic fairy tales.
For the ten generations since the evil first came to
Woodcutter's Grim, the Guardians have sworn an oath to protect the town from
the childhood horrors that lurk in the black woods. Without them, the town
would be defenseless…and the terrors would escape to the world at large.
second volume of the Woodcutter’s Grim Series focuses on a miniseries within
the overall series dealing with a curse on the Shaussegeny family (who were mentioned in the previous three
books as well as "The Amethyst Tower").
"Moonlight Becomes You", Book 4
** Very loosely based on “The Town Mouse and the Country
her child becomes deathly ill and none of the doctors and specialists can help
him, Heather Rowe rushes to Woodcutter's Grim, hoping the boy's father can help
their child. But Lance Shaussegeny's explanations terrify Heather, even though
she's intensely attracted to him all over again. She soon learns that nothing
in Woodcutter's Grim—including Lance—is what it seems. **
When I was putting
together the first collection of Woodcutter’s Grim Series stories, I wrote a
story based on the children’s poem "The Town Mouse and the Country
Mouse"—something I adored as a kid and also when my son was very young.
The story didn’t work out at all like I planned, so I set aside, figuring I
could brainstorm and try to come up with another angle for the story that I
liked still and didn’t want to forget. Well, later, when I was deciding on my
contributions for the 2011 Jewels of the Quill anthologies, I remembered this
story. I’d always been intrigued by the Shaussegenys, who were mentioned in all
of the previous Woodcutter’s Grim Series stories. There were hints that the
family was cursed by the evil in the town and made into werewolves, and I
really wanted to explore that angle.
Even after I had the concept for this book worked
out, I couldn’t think of a good title beyond “A Friend in Need” (which is what
it was called when I first wrote a version it this and then found out it wasn't
working and so shelved it). One day while playing a computer game, I was trying
to brainstorm on the opposite side of my brain while I was playing. I toyed
with the idea of moonlight, since it’s what brings werewolves out. Under the
Moon, Moonlit Reflections, Reflections in Moonlight… Then I realized that the
heroine Heather spends most of this story trying to deny what she
subconsciously knows. “Moonlight Becomes You” struck me like a lightning bolt.
The classic nursery story "The Town Mouse and the
Country Mouse" is probably a moral story warning against envying those who
are richer than you and instead being content with your lot, but my point with "Moonlight
Becomes You" was the parallel in learning to live with monsters in our
"Bewitched", Book 5
** Very loosely based on “The Little Mermaid”. Glynnis Shaussegeny
becomes bewitched by the mystery man who appears out of nowhere on the
abandoned property across the lake from her family’s estate. But does Aric
Sayer have even more dark secrets than she does? **
continued the miniseries with Glynnis, the daughter of Marnie and Gav, and the
mysterious new man who appeared across the lake. “The Little Mermaid” is one of
my favorite fairy tales and so I knew I wanted to do a spinoff of it for my
little horror town Woodcutter’s Grim. How to do it perplexed me for a long time
because many of these stories are so loosely based on a classic fairy tale.
It’s very difficult to fit a modern story into an older mold. I'd already set a
precedence with everything that came before of not forcing something that
doesn't want to go. In essence, I consider those "loosely based". For
some reason, “Bewitched” perfectly fit into one aspect of the old fairy tale of
"The Little Mermaid" and, after I realized that, the story pretty
much wrote itself. It’s a fun, paranormal twist on a beloved story.
Glynnis had been in previous Woodcutter’s Grim
Series books as a villain (since she’s the woman Kurt cheated on Diane with). I
like to redeem characters, and I gave Glynnis motivation for her actions in
that affair: Under the Shaussegeny curse, she believed Kurt was her chosen mate.
In this book, she realizes he isn’t and never was when Aric Sayer appears.
Since this miniseries become more paranormal romance than romantic horror, I
wanted to start using some of the “lighter and softer” fairy tales as a basis
for my modern retellings.
"The Little Mermaid" classic fairy tale
that we all know and love has several contradictory interpretations by scholars.
On one end, it might speak of a female only gaining a soul through marriage (say
what?) or a self-sacrificing action that proves true love exists and therefore
magic happens to reward the selfless act. On the other end, female
empowerment--breaking free of the male conventions that can bind all females in
some ways--are the order of the day in "The Little Mermaid". Or this
story could simply have been prompted by the myths of malevolent mermaids
preying on lonely sailors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid
"One Night of Eternity", Book 6
based on “The House That Jack Built”. Gavin has broken
the covenant with his wife. Although he regrets his faithlessness, the house
he's built for himself is beginning to tumble down around him. Only his mate's
undeserved forgiveness will free him from his punishment to re-live his
betrayal over and over for all time. **
I’ve always been
intrigued by the children’s poem, "The
House That Jack Built", and when I started brainstorming on fairy tales
that would make a good transition into my Woodcutter’s Grim Series, this poem
was one of the first that I wanted to use. I came up with a simple,
line-by-line outline of the story based on the poem, and the book really wrote
itself after that. I just found it such a cool, circular idea. I especially enjoyed
writing the story of a couple who has endured marital infidelity and how sin
becomes so twisted in a paranormal situation like theirs. Their obsessive love
for each other was obvious to me from their first moments thinking of each
other in the opening chapters.
The origin of the nursery rhyme, sometimes titled
"This is the House that Jack Built", seems to merely be one of
repetitive, progressive verse. https://loiselsden.com/2018/09/19/the-house-that-jack-built/
In my modern retelling, the hero has to enduring his night of infidelity for all eternity, over and over again, progressively as punishment. How can he
ever break free? The title came to me even before I worked out all the details
in the outline.
"Beauty is the
Beast*, Book 7
** Very loosely based
on “Beauty and the Beast”. When Ransom Shaussegeny attempts to cure the family
curse, he becomes a werewolf trapped in beast form and isolates himself
inside the family fortress. Upon meeting a beautiful enchantress, he falls
under her spell. Will the evil in Woodcutter’s Grim have the last laugh by
dooming him, the woman he loves, and his family for all time? **
Another huge fairy tale favorite of mine has always been "Beauty and
the Beast", and it was the obvious choice for the final story to wrap up
Ransom’s family had accepted the curse they live under, but he’d never been
willing to. He wanted to break the curse and he certainly didn't want to pass
it on to a woman he’d fallen in love with. The idea that the hero is trapped in
his werewolf form was beyond compelling to me, mingled with the mystery of a
heroine who isn’t all she seems. In that situation, who is the beauty and who
is the beast?
This title was one I chose for a modern story I wrote a long time ago and
one that I can't imagine will ever see the light of day. In that coming-of-age tale
concerning a young girl too beautiful for her own good, beauty *is* the beast.
But it was the perfect title for this story, so I had to steal it off that
Ironically, the twist in this story of Tess's
origins worked so perfectly in HUNTER'S BLUES, Book 9 (A Mirror Darkly World
Novel) that I wrote much later for the series.
The origin of the classic fairy tale "Beauty
and the Beast" seems to have stemmed from the Cupid and Psyche chronicle from an ancient Latin novel in which a woman is banished by
a jealous god and forced to marry a beast. What followed is more than a little
convoluted but makes for interesting reading nevertheless. https://www.pookpress.co.uk/project/beauty-and-the-beast-history/
Reviews and Honors for WOODCUTTER'S
GRIM SERIES, Volume II:
5 star review and Top Pick from The Romance Reviews
5 star review and Reviewer's Top
from Readers Favorite
5 star review from Huntress
5 star review from Linda's Reviews
4 1/2 star review from Love Romance Passion
you ever written a series that came to you in a non-linear order? Have you read
any that were published out of order? Leave a comment to tell me about it!
out more about this collection and Woodcutter's Grim Series here:
Karen is an award-winning, multi-genre
author of over 140 titles and 16 series. Visit her here: