An interesting Beauty and the Beast retelling... Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel (Guest Post & #Giveaway) @megkassel @entangledteen

Welcome to my tour stop! The author is guest posting
below and there's a tour giveaway as well to check out...

Keeper of the Bees
(Black Birds of the Gallows #2)
By Meg Kassel
YA Paranormal
Hardcover & ebook, 304 Pages
September 4th 2018 by Entangled Teen


“Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.
Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

(Affiliate links included.)

Guest Post:
Inspiration & Beauty and the Beast

I get asked often where I came up with the idea of the Beekeepers from my books Black Bird of the Gallows and my new release, Keeper of the Bees. What bizarre happenings are rolling in my head that spat out dudes with psychosis-inducing bees living in their chests and shifting faces of the people they’ve killed. The truth is, they came from a lot of places. First of all, while Dresden is the hero in Keeper of the Bees, Beekeepers didn’t start out as anything heroic. I dreamed up the sort of villain that would scare me, drawing from one of the few horror movies I’ve ever watched, a mostly forgotten 1990s flick called Candyman. I also pulled from the Mothman legend (not the movie, but the real phenomenon from the 1960s which was the basis for the movie) and a few other sources. It wasn’t until I got into writing the character of Rafette, the Beekeeper villain from Black Bird of the Gallows, that I sort of fell in love with him. His origin was so awful, I couldn’t help but want redemption for him. That wasn’t possible, of course, but I could make it work for a different Beekeeper. And so, I created Dresden, who has my heart. Honestly, that boy is mine.

Keeper of the Bees turned into a Beauty and the Beast retelling very naturally. Cursed hero, made to look and behave like a monster. Break the curse and he gets back his handsome looks. BUT I thought it would be fun to twist it around and have a cursed heroine, too. Neither fit into society as they’d like. Neither feels worthy of love. She feels like a burden, while he feels like an abomination. They’re both opposite and the same in the most fun ways to write. And the most challenging.

My hands-down, all-time favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling is Robin McKinley’s 1978 novel, Beauty. I took it out of my school library so many times, I had to hunt down a copy, which at that time, was out of print. So I got a used copy which I still have to this day and re-read every so often. McKinley’s done a few B&B retellings; variations on the fairy tale, but Beauty grabbed me all those years ago and held on. I suppose most of what I write is a variation on this old tale, although not quite as overt.

Many of us fail to see ourselves through clear lenses. We judge ourselves harshly. In ourselves, we see the beast, rarely the beauty, particularly as teens. This makes beauty and the beast is such an interesting theme to explore in young adult fiction. To be seen and loved for who we are in our hearts is so unbearably human, and that’s why this fairy tale is worked over so many times, over and over.

Other Books in the Series

Black Bird of the Gallows
(Black Birds of the Gallows #1)
By Meg Kassel
YA Paranormal
Hardcover & ebook, 309 Pages
September 5th 2017 by Entangled Teen


A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson's School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.

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Have you read the first book in this series? Do you enjoy reading Beauty and the Beast retellings?

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