Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Castles feature prominently in fairy tales. Just think of the residences of Beauty’s beast, Cinderella’s Prince, the jealous queen in Snow White and Sleeping Beauty’s resting place. The Castle Neuschwanstein in Germany (left) was the inspiration for Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

There are two contrasting castles in Ten Fingers Touching. One belongs to the royal family and the other to an evil knight.

Medieval castles were typically built on high ground. They were designed for protection, military operations and served as symbols of power for the nobility. Castles eventually became obsolete as defensive structures in time of war (16th c.), when gunpowder allowed cannons to blow through stone walls.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

While castles in the Middle Ages were damp, dark and drafty, today they are popular places to visit. Castle tours and romantic castle hotels are available throughout Europe.

Speaking of traveling, I am thrilled that the Fairytale Traveler just published a glowing review of Ten Fingers Touching and declared it her “good read” pick of the month. Click here to read.


Princess Rosy

Where does inspiration come from?

One of the main characters in Ten Fingers Touching is Princess Rosy.  She is a charming but headstrong child.

The Princess is described as having a round face and a head full of curly, chestnut-brown hair with long locks that cascade down her back.  She doesn’t enjoy her school lessons but rather prefers music, theatrics and exploring the world on her own terms.  While lovable, the Princess’ independent spirit and impetuous nature often get her into trouble.

Charlotte, who passed away 7 years ago at the age of 81

Charlotte, who passed away 7 years ago at the age of 81

Illustrator, John Blumen, created the image of the Princess that appears on the top left.  When I first saw the picture, I was shocked at how much the illustration of Rosy, age 7,  resembled the portrait of my mother, Charlotte, at age 11!  It also struck me that Rosy embodied not only my mother’s beauty but her forceful personality as well!

Sometimes inspiration is obvious, sometimes it’s not.  It seems clear to me in retrospect that the Princess was subconsciously based on my mother’s appearance and attributes even though at the time I was not aware of the connection!

Interpretations of Good and Evil

ae70ec6bf9af7415647518f3bbcdf839I was delighted to receive as a gift this beautiful stained glass window pictured on the left. The artist very cleverly transformed the cover of Ten Fingers Touching into colorful pieces of glass, while still evoking the tender emotional content of the story.

It made me think about other transformations and how the images of Good and Evil are portrayed in the book. The story opens with a dramatic picture of Good.  Good is described as “a handsome woman with natural beauty etched by years of wise governing and maturity.”  Good is represented symbolically as a woman, albeit with magical powers. We can all recognize and identify what is good.

Evil, however, appears in many forms.  He “quickly morphed from a small, spiky reptile into one of his infinite incarnations―a fierce, 50-foot-tall dragon that reared on two legs….Just as suddenly the dragon twisted like a corkscrew…and then spiraled downward into a new form― a thin, angular man….” Evil further transforms himself throughout the story because symbolically Evil can be anything and appear anywhere at any time. Evil is deceptive and we can’t always recognize its presence.

To hear more of my thoughts about Ten Fingers Touching, you may wish to listen to this online interview with Author Magazine. Click here.

John Blumen

blumen2I’ve been asked many times how I met John Blumen, who so beautifully illustrated Ten Fingers Touching and brought the characters to life. John is a master illustrator and I located him on the website of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators.  John’s magnificent digital art work combines realism, imagination and attention to details, along with the dramatic use of light and color.  The elegant illustration on the left has a fairy tale quality and it is the one that inspired me to contact him.

John and I worked closely on the illustrations in my book. He would initially draft an image and then we discussed it in great depth. After sharing ideas, he revised the image to incorporate my suggestions for changes. We went through this process multiple times for the cover and the pictures. But there were two instances when I loved his images so much that I tweaked the text to conform to the illustrations! It was a wonderful collaborative process and I am so grateful for his talent.

As one blogger wrote, “Come for the illustrations, stay for the story, and leave with another couple of which to remark upon the next time you think of ‘great loves.’”

Kindle Version Now Available!

Attachment-1Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” My recent presentation at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh focused on fairy tales and why they appeal to an adult’s imagination. There are many reasons but perhaps what makes fairy tales such powerful stories for adults is that they give us hope and inspire us to believe in happy endings!

I’m also pleased to announce that the Kindle version of Ten Fingers Touching is now available, along with the hardback and soft cover versions. See

Many thanks to all who joined me at The Carnegie Library. Congratulations to raffle winners Donna Perkins, who won the box of Godiva Chocolates donated by Godiva Chocolatier, and Rochel Tombosky, who won the heart necklace donated by Goldstock Jewelers.

Fairy Tale Trivia Questions!

fantasy oblects (3)Fairy tales have been transformed over the years.
Following are three trivia questions based on the original stories.

1) In Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault, after the Princess was awakened by the Prince and they married, why did the Prince keep his marriage a secret from his mother?
2) What is the original source material for Disney’s animated feature film, Frozen?
3) In Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast, what did Beauty’s father do that compelled her to live in the Beast’s castle?

1) She was an ogress by birth, had a bad temper and hated surprises.  Her wickedness shows when the Prince becomes King and goes off to war leaving his family behind and in peril.
2) Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
3) With good intentions, he plucked a rose from the Beast’s garden to give to Beauty but the Beast claimed he had stolen the rose because it was taken without
permission.  To prevent her father from being killed by the Beast, Beauty offers to sacrifice her life and live with him.

For more thoughts about the origins of fairy tales and their appeal for adults, please join me at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill on Thursday, May 7, 2015 from 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm.
Click here for more information.

Upcoming Talk in Pittsburgh

book photoI’ve been asked many times what was the inspiration for Ten Fingers Touching.

As a child, I loved fairy tales and spent countless hours reading and dreaming.  Fairy tales sweep you out of the present and transport you into magical worlds of fantasy and imagination.

As an adult, I wanted to write a multilayered romantic escape where grown-ups could lose themselves in an imaginary place with the same pleasure they derived from reading fairy tales in their youths.  I also wanted to take a woman back to that special time in her life when she encountered her first romantic relationship.

Answers to more questions can be found here at BookTrib.

My next talk focuses on the resurgence of interest in fairy tales and their appeal for adults. Please join me at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill on Thursday, May 7, 2015 from 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm.
Click here for more information.

In anticipation of Mother’s Day, you might enjoy bringing your mother, daughter, aunt or a special friend!

Why do Fairy Tales Appeal to YOU?

photo (205)2

From Ellen Roth’s book signing at the University Store on Fifth, University of Pittsburgh

Imaginative stories, for example, folk lore, fables, myths and legends have existed for centuries. The term fairy tale was coined in 1697 by the Countess d’Aulnoy, a French author who wrote Les Contes des Fees (Tales of Fairies). Her stories were told in the salons of Paris and they were not intended for children.

Over the years, fairy tales evolved and became identified with children, especially the Disney versions of our time. They give children great pleasure by transporting them into magical worlds of fantasy and imagination.

My next talk focuses on why fairy tales are not just for children! Why do you think fairy tales appeal to adults? I’m interested in understanding your ideas about fairy tales and what messages you gleaned from them!

Please share your thoughts with me by replying to this post or emailing me at I look forward to hearing back from you!

Reviews & Book Signing Reminder

I’m thrilled to share with you the enthusiastic comments from bloggers about  Ten Fingers Touching. Following are some of my favorite reviews:

PURE JONEL — “I was fully absorbed in this story, the rest of the world falling away while I lost myself in its pages. This novel transcends all ages and will easily stand the test of time.”

THE PEN & MUSE — “The beautiful illustrations bring the story to life and make it seem like the ancient myth books that I used to love reading.”

SWEEPS4BLOGGERS — “The true beauty of the story is the lessons about life and love that will linger after you’ve finished reading the book.”

If you want to hear more about the story, please join me at the Pitt Book Store on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, from  12:00 noon to 1 p.m. for a  book signing event.

The Pitt Book Store, now known as The University Store on Fifth, is located at 4000 Fifth Avenue in Oakland between University Place and Thackeray Ave.

It would be great to see you!

Book Signing Event

Ellen Roth Cover (4)I’m having a book signing event at the Pitt Book Store on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, from  12:00 noon to 1 p.m.

My talk will be brief and lively focusing on what inspired Ten Fingers Touching and my collaboration with Steve Fine, editor, who is an instructor in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh, and John Blumen, the master illustrator who hails from Brentwood.

The Pitt Book Store, now known as The University Store on Fifth, is located at 4000 Fifth Avenue in Oakland between University Place and Thackeray Ave.

Please join me for an hour that promises to be fun or just stop in for a few minutes!  It would be great to see you!