Today, I'll be running a sample for my as-yet unpublished fifth and final book in the TOONS series, The Wonderful WonderWoods. Set in the cartoon world of fantasy and fairy tales, Crafty Wolf finds himself lost in the forest while trying to find the Apex Factory on Sneeka Peak. Along the way, Crafty finds a frog who turns out to be an enchanted princess with some very non-traditional ideas...
Crafty asked, "So you do a lot of this sort of thing?"
The frog looked like she was about to spit at something, but stopped to look at him. "What sort of thing?"
"Well, this hanging around, all enchanted and such."
"No. Why do you ask?"
Crafty shrugged. "No reason. You just seem to know a lot about it."
The frog's tongue lashed out, snagged a fly, and yanked it back into her mouth. She chewed. "Well, it's all in the manual. There's a whole list of stuff in there you can do to get a happy ending. Not much open for women, though, even with a college education. It was either this or get pricked by a spinning wheel."
"Did you know," the frog asked, "that the average prince gets twice the happiness of your average princess with the exact same background in the exact same happy ending?"
"No," Crafty said, truthfully.
The frog grunted. "Princes. They get all the good stuff. Fighting dragons, rescuing damsels, goin' around inheriting kingdoms. All a princess can do is sit around, getting enchanted. And don't even try to take a hand in your own destiny. I tried. There are plenty of damsels in distress. I dare you to find even one knight in distress. Oh, no. Too macho. Too tough. A princess gets cursed, she's out for a thousand years. A prince gets cursed, he just goes traipsing down to the Netherworld, and boom. He's back in business."
"Uh-huh," Crafty said. "Look--"
The frog jabbed one of her forelegs at him. "It's not even worth the effort. I mean, I go to all the trouble of getting a princess license, and look where it gets me. I gotta sit here on a rock, eatin' bugs, and waiting for some man to come along and whisk me off to his palace."
The frog sighed. "Sure, I'll be rich. Sure, I'll be a queen, but I gotta spend the prime of my life scrubbing armor. One day, he'll come home with a new princess, and I'm right back where I started."
The frog stood up on her knobby hind legs. "Well, forget it! I'm gettin' my money back. I'll make my own castle, get my own kingdom, and forget the princes! Where've they been for the last two years, that's what I'd like to know. Well, they had their chance. C'mere!"
The frog hopped across the pond and dove straight at Crafty's lips. She gave him a slimy kiss, and hopped down again. As Crafty hunched over, spitting furiously, she began to transform.
Her head squashed into an oval shape as hair sprouted from the top, extending into long, flowing waves of gold. Her squat, round body elongated, slimming down to a trim, beautiful waist. Her legs stretched out until she towered over him. Her webbed feet thinned and spread into toes. Her sickly-green skin changed to a rosy pink, and a glittering cloth formed over her body. Within seconds, the frog became a beautiful human woman in a white, sparkling gown.
"Right." She adjusted her tiara, picked up a sword, slung it over her shoulder, and thrust a fist into the air. "Down with princes! Princesses unite! The princesses' liberation is nigh!"
"I'm very happy for you." Crafty wiped the slime off his mouth. "Now, if you could tell me the way to Sneeka Peak--"
The frog-princess looked at him. "Why would you wanna go there?"
Crafty told her.
"Neat," the princess said. "Well, one good turn deserves another. You helped me find my goal, I'll help you with yours. I'll get you to the Apex Factory."
Crafty stood up. "Okay, which way?"
The princess pointed towards the north with her sword. "That way!"
She frowned and pointed south. "Uh, or was it that way? Hmmm. Well, come on. We'll ask somebody for directions."
As she marched up the slope, her gown billowed at her feet. Crafty thought about going the other way, but sighed and trotted up after her.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, after all.
"My name is Timothy McGill, and I'm a time travel addict..." Time Junkie, now available in paperback and ebook formats!