“Encircled” Release Day Spotlight

Today is the day. April 16th. Let’s give a HUGE happy release day to Encircled! And to all the Ever Afters. We did it! We were crazy enough to see this thing through. We actually did it. Whooohoo! *insert so many fireworks*

I can’t believe after years in the making the day has finally come. If you would have told me this release of Encircled was going to happen three years ago, I probably would have rolled my eyes. It’s amazing how one idea has led to this, but isn’t that how these kinds of wonderful things happen? This is why it’s so important to chase our dreams and ideas. You have no clue where they could lead, and the only way to find out is to see them through. 🙂

So thrilled right now, and a little sad too. Happy that readers can finally enjoy our book, and kind of sad because that means now that Encircled is done I’m going to miss all the Encircled email exchange between my author friends who’ve each poured so much into this book. Jebraun Clifford, E.J. Kitchens, Laurie Lucking, J.M. Hackman, and S.E. Clancy, I couldn’t be more proud of these talented ladies, or more honored to have worked with them. You guys have no idea how much I’ve learned from you guys, how much I’ve learned from this project, or how much I look up to you all. *gets misty eyed* Ah! Okay. I’ll stop with the sappy stuff for now. Right now, I want to tell all the readers that if you haven’t already gotten your copy, to do so now. It’s hard to be disappointed with a collection like this. Each and every story has something special to offer fans of retellings.

As one of the authors in Encircled, one of my favorite parts about working on this project was getting to read every story first-hand. Whoohoo! First dibs! I can’t say enough goods things about these stories, but let me just pick out a few, hehe. 😊

A Spell’s End (The Nutcracker and the Mouse) by E.J. Kitchens. Such a cute story. Fantastic retelling. This historical fantasy is sure to set you back in its rich setting, and magical realms. All while charming you with an adorable soldier doll. 🙂

Edged in Silver (Snow White) by Laurie Lucking. Ah, I just love that title! This magic portal escape is packed with plenty of romance, enchantments, and humor that’s sure to keep you zipping across the pages.

The Songbird’s Citadel (The Nightingale) by J.M. Hackman. There’s plenty of awe in this story. Action. Engaging plot. You can tell so much imagery and strong storytelling went into it. Ugh! Such beautiful descriptions.

Beyond the Stars, Past the Moons (East of the Sun and West of the Moon) by Jebraun Clifford. A well-crafted sci-fi story that is the perfect balance for Encircled, giving us that extra flavor. This space adventure will keep you both gripped and guessing. I myself wasn’t too familiar with the original story, but I love how it’s lesser-known stories like this will get the curiosity of the reader and hopefully get them to look up these stories for themselves. 🙂

The Last Mrs. Bluebeard (Bluebeard) by S.E. Clancy. What a doozy. A thrilling read, and difficult to pull away from. I loved the suspense, the chill-inducing feels because of a crazy turn of events. And, ahem, I would recommend reading this one in the dark. *grins wickedly*

And finally, my own, A Heart’s Desire (Beauty and the Beast) You, my friends, and readers alike, will get extra bonuses on this retelling below. Because why the heck not, right? 🙂

Fun Facts about A Heart’s Desire

Original title and concept

Before A Heart’s Desire was the final title decision it was first called Ice Blister. I kid you not. The reason it was originally called that was because like in the movie Frozen, I originally wanted a frozen heart concept. I wanted Beast to be cursed with a heart that would slowly turn into a popsicle as his days were numbered. But, I did not go down this direction for obvious reasons. It did seem too similar to Frozen.

Biggest struggle

One of the biggest struggles I remember having with A Heart’s Desire was dealing with the curse. I could not for the life of me come up with a solution on how Beast would break his curse. I knew I wanted to do something different away from the 1991 Disney movie, which I used heavily as my reference, but I was just coughing up blanks. I think it wasn’t until I came up with the lake of roses scene when things started to tie together.


Speaking of the 1991 Disney movie, which is my absolute favorite Beauty and the Beast story, I also used the classic story Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve as reference. I recommend it to all readers to at least read it once. Yes, it is extremely different than from say Disney’s vision, but it’s fun to pick out the differences and kind of get an idea about what is and what isn’t working. Another movie favorite is La Belle et la Bête. It’s a french movie so unless you know french you’ll have to watch it with captions. But it’s a really great movie with a twist. Highly recommend it.

Deleted scenes

I had one scene that I wish I could have included. I was not to go over 13k so there was no way I had room for any of these additional scenes. But at least I can show one here. Here’s a deleted scene of Beast introducing Desiree to his horse. POV is Desiree.

Another deleted scene I had enforces the piece above. The concept took place while Desiree was staying with Beast in the castle. A horrible snow storm blew in. Beast watches in horror as it tears away at his barn. Inside his barn is his four beloved horses he grew up with and a goat. As he tries to fight the storm to reach his distressed animal friends the gargoyles grab him and drag him back into the castle. Now it’s up to Desiree to rescue his beloved animals. (This was supposed to be the first introduction to the creepy gargoyles, the second being at the lake, which is included in the final version) I thought the whole scene would’ve been cute after it was all said and done. Plus, it would have shown how much of an animal lover Beast was. But since he has Isa, I guess it still worked out. 🙂


Most ideas came from a dream I had years ago. Back then, I had originally wanted to do a whole Beauty and the Beast novel retelling.

Aside from dreams, my other ideas came from Pinterest, which you can view the board of A Heart’s Desire by clicking this link.

The time it took to write A Heart’s Desire

I believe it was two months to write the rough draft. If I remember correctly (correct me if I’m wrong my critique partners) I believe we gave ourselves a year to decide which retelling we were going to pick and write. Instead of using a huge chunk of that year, of course, I wrote the thing at the last minute. *face palm* This project was intimidating at first. I’d never done a retelling like this before. While I had some ideas, I didn’t know what to write exactly or how to write it. Connecting the dots was quite a process, but so worth it once everything started coming together.

Favorite scenes and regrets

I loved writing that scene that took place in Finn’s room. For some reason the entire Desiree and Finn scene completely spilled out at three in the morning. Why these ideas come to me at ridiculously hours, I have no clue. All I know is I had to write it when I was feeling it. The end result is something I’m so pleased with. My hope is readers love it too. Another favorite scene would be the music room scene where Beast shows Desiree his piano. The gargoyle scene to mention another. Speaking of, my only regret is that I wanted more gargoyles, haha! Seriously, those flying creatures are what got me excited to do a Beauty and the Beast retelling (saw them clear as day in a dream, carrying Beast away) Kind of wish I had more scenes with them. I mean just think of that and more Isa! Wouldn’t it be nice to see Isa and the gargoyles duking it out over Beast? Haha, maybe that’s another story I’m flirting with and should probably leave it alone. 😛

Other retellings

I’ve never really done a big retelling like I did with A Heart’s Desire. I did a micro short many, many years, The Tortoise and the Hare retelling. I may need to dig it up and ship it somewhere. Another one I started a while ago was a dark, modern Alice and Wonderland retelling. That one for sure I need to see through. It’s still not done, lol.

Other anthologies in the future

I think I can admit there’s been some talk about it between the Ever Afters. Nothing set in stone yet, but I do believe without a doubt that we’ll probably get together again for round two. What it will be, I have no idea, but I’m so looking forward to the future, to that and other personal projects of mine.

Final Thoughts

I think that’s all I have for now. If you have any additional comments/questions feel free to ask! I hope you’ve gained a little insight, and more than anything I do hope you pick up a copy of Encircled. Again, a huge Happy Release Day to Encircled and all the authors associated with it. We did it!

Where you can buy.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PV4PJCP/

Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/Encircled-Laurie-Lucking-ebook/dp/B07PV4PJCP/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/encircled

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130963276

Apple books: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1456811281

#fantasy #sci-fi #thriller #humor #romance #reseaseday #encircled #anthology #books

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