Bettie Sharpe’s “Ember”

In my opinion, this is not so much a twisted fairy tale as an example of how to write. I won’t get into all the gush-deconstruction with various adjectives and superlatives because it’s been done ad nauseam (by an agent, even!)

Bettie, if you see, this, please email me your Paypal account and I’ll PAY you for the privilege of having read it.

Go. Now. Download Ember, read Ember, love Ember. Then go to Samhain Publishing and reward Ms. Sharpe by buying her novella, Like a Thief in the Night.

Side note: If you like this as much as I did, I recommend Sheri S. Tepper’s Beauty. Philosophically, Ms. Tepper and I couldn’t be farther apart, yet I love her work. In fact, I love it so much that I mention her anti-violence, anti-alpha male treatise The Gate to Women’s Country in my certainly-not-anti-violent and pro-alpha male and alpha female doorstopper.

5 thoughts on “Bettie Sharpe’s “Ember”

  • June 23, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Hi Moriah,

    I got your post on trackback. Glad you liked Ember, but don’t go worrying about paypal, Ember is free :).

    P.S. I like Sheri S. Tepper’s Beauty too. I second your recommendation.

  • June 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    A very good novel. The themes remind me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle (I’m thinking specifically of the movie version). However, putting my editor’s cap on, I think the plot structure in the middle needs some work (and I wouldn’t mind a few more descriptive scenes and a few more fractured fairly tales–loved those).

    Even when the reader can predict how things are going to turn out, the writer can’t allow the reader to be smarter (plot-wise) than the protagonist, and I’m afraid that happens about halfway through. The Prince needs another complication in his life that creates more complex reasons for maintaining distance between himself and “Rian.”

    (This is completely beside the point, but Ember’s musing about his name reminded me of this.)

    In fact, Gaetane’s eventual explanation for her original “curse” is so compelling that rather than simply telling about it at the end, showing it along the way would fit the bill perfectly, and provide an external motivation (rather than only an existential one) for keeping the Prince’s alter-egos at odds with each other, and at odds with Ember.

    In Howl’s Moving Castle, Howl has been using his looks, magic and charming nature to keep a dozen balls in the air at the same time, and they suddenly come crashing down, putting them all in danger. So the psychological conflict created by Sophie and Howl hiding their true natures becomes expressed in physical form.

    Seriously, with a little work, we’re in Stardust territory. Publishers should be fighting over it.

  • June 27, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Actually, I thought it was pretty tight for a novella. She has the other one I mentioned at Samhain (bought it; haven’t read it yet–thank the bronchitis). There are actually agents waiting for her to write something full-length. I don’t think she’ll have any problems getting sold. 😉

    I will, however, go find Howl’s Moving Castle. Thanks for the tip!

  • June 27, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Another one of my favorite Ghibli films is Whisper of the Heart (also distributed by Disney), about a girl who wants to become a writer. The story she writes about the Cat Baron (voiced in the English version by Cary Elwes) is continued in The Cat Returns.


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