Derivative Fiction and Media Tie-ins

I wrote an earlier post about how fan fiction can’t get respect. However, this is only true of so-called amateur fiction written by unpublished writers. Once the work is professionally published, it gains instant respect. These works are considered either derivative fiction or media tie-ins.

For example, “The Green Blade” is a 15-chapter novel that resides in a fan fiction archive. “The House of Silk” is a novel published by Mulholland Books. Both are well-regarded stories about Sherlock Holmes, but only one is considered legitimate.

So, am I saying the only difference between fan fiction and derivative fiction is a publishing contract? Not exactly. Authors of derivative fiction and media tie-ins are usually skilled writers well enough established in their craft to be offered contracts by publishers. With the contract comes a professional editor to help polish their prose. Fan fiction writers may have a couple of beta readers, but those are usually fellow fans who aren’t real picky about incorrect comma usage.

You may wonder what the difference is between derivative fiction and media tie-ins, so let’s discuss that.

Derivative fiction is based on another piece of fiction. There’s a lot of it out there, some of it famous and critically acclaimed. Much of it comes from works that have passed into the public domain. For example, Jane Austen has become the darling of Chick Lit, as well as horror and mysteries. Novels based on her works include “Austenland,” “The Phantom of Pemberley,” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Dracula is another good example of a derivative fiction subgenre. Bram Stoker’s version of the Count, who was actually a prince, has inspired numerous spin-offs, including “Dracula, My Love,” “The Historian,” and “Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula.”

Other authors whose work has become the subject of derivative fiction include L. Frank Baum, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, J. M. Barrie, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.

Media tie-ins are novels and stories based on TV shows, movies and video games. This can be a novel based on a movie, as opposed to the other way around. Often, this is a shared world scenario, where authors spin-off from the original show. The original creators have tight control over this form of derived fiction and there is usually a bible and guidelines for a selected author to work from.

Media tie-ins have been created for “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,” “Doctor Who,” “CSI,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Dungeons & Dragons.” It is a very successful and profitable genre, yet the authors don’t get a lot of respect, perhaps because they are writing what amounts to sanctioned fan fiction. For more information about the genre and the work it takes to write these novels, check out The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

In the end, the author of a serious literary novel based on “Hamlet” does not have the high ground over the author of a novel tied in to the TV series, “Supernatural.” Both are derivative and it’s possible the “Supernatural” novel is the better story. Neither should look down on fan fiction writers since they are often beginners learning their craft. We’ve all been there. Even if your first efforts weren’t fan fiction, chances are these were based on something you’d previously seen or read.

Interested in reading the original classics? Many are available in a variety of eBook formats for free on the Project Gutenberg website. Below, I have listed several Jane Austen spin-offs, free-for-now for the Kindle on Amazon.

  Charlotte ~ Pride and Prejudice Continues by Karen Aminadra
When Charlotte Lucas married Mr Collins, she did not love him but had at least secured her future. However, what price must she pay for that future? She once said she was not romantic, but how true is that now after almost one year of marriage? Mr Collins is submissive in the extreme to his patroness, and his constant simpering, fawning and deference to the overbearing and manipulative Lady Catherine de Bourgh is sure to try the patience of a saint, or at least of Charlotte.

  Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliott
Shy Georgiana Darcy has been content to remain unmarried, living with her brother and his new bride. But Elizabeth and Darcy’s fairy-tale love reminds Georgiana daily that she has found no true love of her own. And perhaps never will, for she is convinced the one man she secretly cares for will never love her in return. Georgiana’s domineering aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has determined that Georgiana shall marry, and has a list of eligible bachelors in mind. But which of the suitors are sincere, and which are merely interested in Georgiana’s fortune? Georgiana must learn to trust her heart–and rely on her courage, for she also faces the return of the man who could ruin her reputation and spoil a happy ending, just when it finally lies within her grasp.

  So Into You (The Jane Austen Academy Series) by Cecilia Gray
Sweet and sensible Ellie hasn’t met a problem her mom’s yoga mantras can’t fix. But when Ellie’s parents threaten to pull her from the Academy just as her flirtation with the cutest boy in school heats up, will Ellie be able to keep her cool?

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

A Victorian Christmas in San Francisco

I’m on the final day of my San Francisco holiday. I’ve had a lovely time, visiting friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying some only-in-San Francisco activities.

One of those activities is a yearly event that is dear to my heart. I’ve performed there on several occasions and still know many of the people who make this event so fabulous. I’m talking about the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.

This five-weekend holiday event recreates the London of Charles Dickens. Along with crafts and food, there are hundreds of costumed actors, musicians and dancers who perform on the stages or wander the streets, interacting with the customers. For example, you’ll see the Ghost of Christmas Present leading Scrooge, in his nightdress, through the streets and interacting with other performers. It’s a good time and really puts you in the holiday mood.

I wore male attire, though I wasn’t portraying a man. When asked, I replied, “I am not a gentleman, I am a lady of bohemian inclination.” Shocking!

While there, I enjoyed tea with my friends, Andy and Todi, who perform as part of a comedy act, Ballet Russe.

Todi and Me

Todi and Me. I’m the “blond.” Photo courtesy of Andy. Thanks, Andy!

It was a proper tea, with cucumber sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and lemon custard. When they weren’t performing, we wandered around and had a swell time.

Andy and Me

That’s me and Andy, a couple of flash coves.

You never know who you’ll run into on the fair streets of London town.

Me and Abe

After posing, we hunted down a few vampires.

All this might put you in the mood for a little (or a lot of) Dickens. Project Gutenberg has a number of the works of Charles Dickens, in many different eBook formats, and all for free. You can find them here.

Enjoy the dickens out of reading Dickens. If you’re in or near San Francisco, the Dickens Fair runs until December 23. Go!

Literature and Movies

Free eBooks

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I’m finding time to read again. I’m also taking notice of upcoming movies. As a huge fan of both Lord of the Rings and BBC Sherlock, I am eagerly awaiting The Hobbit. I’m sure that those who also enjoy both are aware that Martin Freeman, who plays Watson on Sherlock, is playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. However, are you aware that Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, is playing the voice of Smaug in The Hobbit? Gotta love that.

Other movies I’m looking forward to include Anna Karenina, Les Miserables and The Great Gatsby. I know, The Great Gatsby doesn’t come out until May 2013, but I can hardly wait to see what director Baz Luhrmann makes of the Jazz Age. It’s certain to be over-the-top and batshit crazy, in a good way.

I’m also looking forward to my yearly reading and watching of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My favorite movie version is the one starring George C. Scott. He makes a magnificent Scrooge. He’s mean and selfish, and yet as you learn his story, your heart goes out to him. I can’t recommend it enough.

While The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy are not yet in the public domain, the other books are. Oddly enough, The Great Gatsby is not freely available on Amazon. However, I found the free, public domain version on eBooks for All. Les Miserables and Anna Karenina are available as free classics for the Kindle. The version of A Christmas Carol that I’ve listed below is illustrated and free-for-now, meaning if you don’t get it now, it will cost later.

Sorry if that confuses anyone. The lesson is, anything I list for free should be grabbed the day I list it. There are never any guarantees that anything will remain free. So go get ’em!

  A Christmas Carol (Illustrated) by Charles Dickens
This edition of Dickens’s immortal classic, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, features the original illustrations by John Leech, as well as another 20 woodcut engravings by Sol Eytinge Jr. from the 1869 American edition by Ticknor & Fields. Beautifully designed and carefully proofed for digital publication, this Top Five Classic edition includes a short introduction and bio. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old curmudgeon who spurns Christmas as a “humbug,” is given the chance to redeem himself through the intervention of four Spirits on Christmas Eve. If reading Dickens’s most beloved story doesn’t put you in the true spirit of Christmas, you may be beyond redemption.

  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world’s greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy’s best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn’t take well to that sort of thing.

  Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The book’s beginning tells of a generous bishop who is kind to a released convict. The convict goes on to become the mayor of a important city, because of the bishop’s influence on him. Meanwhile, a young girl is abandon by her lover, left alone and pregnant. If I while to tell you more of the story, I would ruin it for you but I will tell you this: this book is about extreme poverty, where people are forced to do horrible things in order to survive. It is also about how your actions can affect the lives of others. (description provided by Amazon reviewer A Kid’s Review)

  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the “roaring” 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world and is ranked second in the Modern Library’s lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.

Descriptions provided by Amazon and eBooks for All

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store and eBooks for All. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Free Again – Drinking with Dead Women Writers

I posted this book before and it’s come up free again. If you missed it last time, get it now while it still costs $0. I read it and loved it. Imagine having a drink or two, or too many, with some of literature’s most famous dead women authors. It’s a funny and informative read.

  Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner
Essays on drinking with Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Erma Bombeck, The Bronte Sisters, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Margaret Mead, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mitchell, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand and Virginia Woolf.

Most early female writers used pen names because women weren’t regarded as competent writers. Margaret Mitchell wrote only one published novel in her lifetime, but Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and sold more than 30 million copies. Emily Dickinson was so paranoid that she only spoke to people from behind a door. Carson McCullers wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter at age 22. Her husband wanted them to commit suicide in the French countryside, but she refused.

Ambrose and Turner explore these and other intriguing facts about the most famous (but departed) women in literary history.

Description provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Kindle Freebies – June 12, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

Short fiction caught my eye today. I was particularly enchanted by a tale about cats guarding our dreams. That must be why they sleep all day. They’re busy at night, keeping us safe from our nightmares. I also grabbed a Celtic fairytale, a scifi romance novella, a novel comprised of three novellas, and a copy of eFiction magazine.

Yesterday, I made Russian Tea Cakes from a recipe in an old Betty Crocker cookbook. Today, I was happy to find a book of vintage cookie recipes. Tasty.

The big news in travel is that Top Sights has started offering up Asian city guides for free. Gives me hope that they will cover all the continents, though I don’t think Antarctica has any city to speak of. I also picked up a travelogue written by two Viennese brothers who traveled across the U.S. by bicycle. I had a LOL moment when I read the introductory pages. They wrote of being terribly bored at a baseball game. I had a similar experience when I took an English friend to see the San Francisco Giants. He looked so relieved at the 7th Inning Stretch, thinking the game was over, that I took pity on him and we left.


The Society of Secret Cats De Kenyon
What if cats were really there to guard your dreams? When his human girl becomes lost in a nightmare, Ferntail must lead her home again…but he doesn’t know the way, either. Will a mysterious and beautiful cat from the Society of Secret Cats lead them home…or further astray?

Bean Sidhe by Reagen Dandridge Desilets
While hiking with friends in the Appalachian Mountains, Niya stumbles on the tragic tale of a family about to lose their young father. Can she confront the bean sidhe and save him from death?

Tiger of Talmare by Nina Croft
Melissa Stark will take on just about any job as long as the price is right. But this particular job she would gladly take on for free because Captain Zachary Knight has been a thorn in her side ever since she stole his starship ten years ago. Back then he was a genuine hero and poster boy for the army’s hybrid breeding program. Now things have changed. Zach has been accused of a massacre on the planet of Talmare and is being shipped home to stand trial. But certain influential people want to make sure Zach never reaches Earth and Mel and her crew on The Revenge have been hired to intercept him and return him to Talmare. It should have been easy money. The problem is, Zach is impossible to resist and once Mel gets her hands on him she’s doesn’t want to let him go. Now those same people are also after Mel.

The Mystic Wolves by Belinda Boring
Someone is trying to send a deadly message to Mason, arranging the deaths of those he loves and it puts the entire pack and Alpha on high alert. Darcy understands the primal instincts driving her beloved Mason’s commands. With the help of those he sets as protectors, she learns about herself and the things she’ll need to help support her Alpha and pack. When events turn dire however, one truth offers her strength – once given, oaths are unbreakable … even if it means risking it all.

eFiction Magazine October 2011
(No description was provided, but it looks pretty good.)

Recipe Books

Vintage Cookie Recipes by Amy Renee
Learn how to make amazing vintage cookies! Over 25 recipes have been added to this cookbook to help you bring a tasty touch of years past back to your kitchen.


Bikers Barbecue by Tobias Micke and Stefan Micke
A book about a 4000 mile cross country bicycle tour through America – well, what’s so new and thrilling about that? You should think. But: The personal diaries of two young European (Viennese) lads have been blended into an astounding alloy of reading pleasure. Their funny, sometimes critical accounts have not much in common with normal travel logs. Admittedly, if you like travel books, you’ll like this one anyway. Also, if you are a bike freak or a general fan of atmospheric literature about back-country America. Still this book is also well fitted for a broader audience, as the two authors seem to have managed traveling on the edge of the genuine American soul as it presents itself on the turn of the Millennium. The authors didn’t spend their nights at isolating motels or somewhere out there in tents. The people they met all the way from the East to the West coast let them savor their hospitality and thereby offered them insights into their lives and doings. The well blended mixture of quite ordinary ingredients transforms the manuscript into a reading experience that makes every cold infectious, every flat tire painful and the finely tuned slapstick humor thoroughly funny for the reader.

Top Sights Travel Guides

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Kindle Freebies – June 11, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

After watching “Prometheus” this weekend, what I really wanted to find was a book with a robot protagonist who deeply admired Peter O’Toole. Alas, my search was fruitless. If this was Twitter, I’d add #fangirlDavidtheRobot. Good movie. Great robot.

Still, I found some promising genre fiction involving fairy tales, vampire mom and zombies on Earth and Mars. Add to these a frugal kitchen/recipe book, a 2011 guidebook to family-friendly and inexpensive Washington D.C., and still  more city guides.

I’m rich in books and I haven’t spent a dime. Woo-hoo!


Moon Dance (Vampire for Hire #1) by J.R. Rain
Mother, wife, private investigator…vampire. Six years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire. Now the world at large thinks Samantha has developed a rare skin disease, a disease which forces her to quit her day job and stay out of the light of the sun. Now working the night shift as a private investigator, Samantha is hired by Kingsley Fulcrum to investigate the murder attempt on his life, a horrific scene captured on TV and seen around the country. But as the case unfolds, Samantha discovers Kingsley isn’t exactly what he appears to be; after all, there is a reason why he survived five shots to the head.

Snow, Blood, and Envy by Jean Haus
With aspirations of being an animator, sixteen-year-old Nivi Nash thought she knew all about fairy tales. Take one beautiful damsel in distress, add a charming hero, and don’t forget a cackling villain. Throw in some pretty colors, a few songs, and mix well. But caught in a real one, she learns the hero—though still hot—isn’t always charming, the story far from pretty, and the villain absolute evil. On the run for her life in a stolen SUV, she isn’t worried about her beauty, but happily ever after? Yes, she wants that the most. It means she’ll live.

UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale) by Chanda Hahn
Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated, that is until she saves her crushes life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it’s next fairytale victim. To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

The Zombies of Hobbiton: A Martian Love Story by Edward W. Robertson
For the settlers of Mars, the underground tunnels of Hobbiton protect them from the airless cold. But when a zombie outbreak hits the city, the survivors have nowhere to run. Doane and his friends take refuge in a domed park. Behind its sealed airlock, they’re safe–but when Doane gets a call from his little brother telling him their parents haven’t gotten home yet, he’ll have to head back into the tunnels armed with nothing more than a flower stand and his kung fu.

Living With the Dead Series by Joshua Guess
Living With the Dead is a serialized story of everyday life at the beginning of and during the zombie apocalypse. Its original format was and is an almost daily blog. Told in the author’s own voice, LWtD is the story of a group of survivors in central Kentucky, working to stay alive amid the violence and chaos of a crumbling civilization. Faced with threats and challenges that tax their endurance and force them to make terrible choices, the story follows the survivors day to day.

Recipe Books

The Frugal Gourmet: Secrets to Saving Thousands in the Kitchen by Charmaine Gerber
Author and official coupon fashionista, Charmaine Gerber has had nearly a two decades of experience in the fine art of frugalness in the kitchen and she estimates she saves her family around 5 thousand dollars a year with a simple system that anyone can implement. Despite her frugalness in the kitchen her family is well fed and they enjoy healthy, delicious meals every time. The secret according to Charmaine is simple “It is a combination of smart planning, shopping and cooking. It isn’t rocket science, but if you follow my guide, I will show you hundreds of tips that will save you thousands of dollars in the kitchen every year and also leave your family healthier as a result. The choice is yours, you can harness all of my tips and save even more money or select which tips are right for you and still enjoy significant savings.”


The 2011 D.C.-Area Guide to Surviving Summer with Kids: Over 100 Inexpensive, Family-Friendly Day Trips, Attractions, and Festivals by Skylar Burris
Want to know where you can play unlimited miniature golf for just $2? Feel like going to a water park, but don’t want to pay more than $35 for your entire family? Looking for places to spend a fun hour or two (or even a day) with the kids, but without spending any money? Discover all that and more in this guide to free and low-cost attractions, destinations, and festivals. This handy guide to surviving summer with children (without breaking the bank) contains well over 100 family-friendly, inexpensive day trip destinations and attractions in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., from beach parks and botanic gardens to museums and water parks. It’s also a great day trip guide for out-of-towners planning to vacation in the D.C. metro area.

Top Sights Travel Guides

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.