Set off on a fairy tale quest

“Everyone says he’ll make up his mind at the Spring Dance. Oh, Pen! Just think, someone out there is Cinderella and doesn’t know it yet.”

The book Into the Bargain has a lot of fairy-tale references, some direct, many more hidden.

How many can you find?

Once you get your hands on the book, keep track as you read. Then fill out this form, carefully monitored by either a wizard, a troll or a slightly less interesting personage.

If you correctly identify at least seven fairy tales, you’ll receive exclusive printable bookmarks and bragging-rights social images to share.

But no matter how many you find (even zero — though hey, you already know one!), fill out the form between Jan. 31, 2024, and 11:59 p.m. Eastern on March 1, 2024, and you will be in the running for a lovely brooch/decoration of Cinderella on the way to the ball. One such reader will be randomly selected, no purchase required. U.S. residents only for that — but you’re welcome to enter no matter where you live, and I will make an exception for you if you are randomly picked and the shipping is $30 or less.

Want the full rules boilerplate? It’s at the bottom of this page.

. . . . .

Your quest questions answered

Q: Colleen, what if I find a reference to a fairy tale but you didn’t realize it was there? Do I have to read your mind?

Nope! That’s why the form lets you (optionally) identify the reference you saw that made you think of the fairy tale. If I can verify it’s legit, you’ll get credit whether I knowingly included it or not.

No need to do it if it’s obvious, only if the reference is more obscure and you’d rather be safe than sorry.

Q: So to your knowledge, you’ve put in a total of seven fairy tales references?

Oh, no. Far, far more than that. ~Smiles secretive, evil queen smile~

Q: Wait, how many? I want to find them all!

Once the physical prize contest is over, I’ll tell the folks on my newsletter list. Sign up here. Or you can just opt in on your entry form (which has no bearing on your chances of winning).

Q: Help a reader out. Are you just including the well-known fairy tales?

No, a mix of well-known and lesser-known tales.

Q: What about myths? Folk tales? Legends? Do they count?

I think it’s hard to know precisely where to draw the line, so yes. (And readers of the Clandestine Magic trilogy will probably have an idea of at least one Greek myth they can find referenced here …)

Q: Tell me about the book.

A young lady with no income—and shortly no home—must be in want of a wizard husband.

Pen Novak has two weeks to find someone to marry. Otherwise, she’ll be spirited off to live with her awful uncle. Fortunately, her town’s omnimancer is on the market, and he plans to choose someone at a ball in thirteen days.

Unfortunately, he’s not the type to appreciate cleverness, persistence or anything else Pen has to offer.

Enter the wizard’s intriguing assistant, who makes her a bargain: a magical brew that could virtually guarantee her selection, in exchange for a favor. Which he won’t specify. Nor will he tell her his name.

Of course she shouldn’t accept. Especially as she starts to notice his fine eyes and tempting lips.

But with all the job openings in town meant for men only, what other choice does a young lady—or, rather, a not quite so young lady—really have?

Q: I love/hate books with steamy scenes/naughty language/certain tropes/subversive stuff. Am I going to love/hate this one?

All my books are moderately steamy. This one is on the milder side of my range.

All my books also have some naughty language, but this one doesn’t go above a few damns. (Miss Novak’s still getting the hang of cursing.) See this list for more information, including tropes.

And all my books are at least a little subversive. Subversive is literally the title of one of them.

Q: How quickly will the wizard/troll/less interesting personage send me my bookmarks after I fill out the form?

That depends on how many forms the wizard, troll and/or less interesting personage receive. If you haven’t received it within two weeks, please reach out here.

Q: Do I have to buy the book to enter?

No purchase required! Anyone can enter for a chance at the brooch. Though I hope you’ll enjoy the book if you decide to get it.

Q: I love contest boilerplate. Hit me with it.

No purchase necessary. Entries for the brooch contest must be in by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on March 1, 2024. One entry per person, please. The value of the brooch is roughly $50, not including shipping. Contest hosted independently of WordPress, Google Forms, Instagram, Facebook or any other place you might come across it. You must be 18 or older and a U.S. resident to be eligible to win the brooch, but people from anywhere can enter and — if you’re randomly picked and shipping to you costs me $30 or less — I’ll make an exception for you. The winner will be notified by email; make sure you include that in your entry and reply within five days of notification or a new winner will be randomly picked and the brooch will go to them. Odds of winning depend on how many people enter, and may the odds be ever in your favor (not a fairy tale reference).