Friday, September 14, 2012

Why do we Love the Ugly Duckling? with Kim Carmichael

I’m hosting a special author today – Kim Carmichael. I first met Kim through one of my Online writing classes. She’s talented and driven, and has turned into a real friend. (It’s wonderful when the people you meet online actually live close!)
She’s giving away a few goodies to one lucky commenter. The winner can have a choice of skin care or a vintage Harlequin romance. Kim also is giving away signature bookmarks to the first five who requests them!

Enter to Win a Vintage Harlequin 
The story of the Ugly Duckling is one of the most beloved and well-known fairy tales.  The outcast Ugly Duckling is made fun for his different looks. He hides away in a cave and reemerges as the beautiful swan where he floats off into the sunset.

Over the years, the story has been criticized for the Ugly Duckling did not really have to do anything, or accomplish a goal of any kind to solve his problem.  Time and DNA took care of him. 

Still, we are fascinated by this tale, it has been told time and again in different incarnations, and so I had to ask myself why is it that we love the Ugly Duckling and his dilemma? 

We identify with him and his plight – I think everyone at one point or another has felt like a mess.   No matter if you went through a gawky phase in your youth, or just wore an inappropriate outfit to a party, there are times we all think the spotlight is shining down on us and highlighting our flaws.

We have an inner need to fit in – Something about the Ugly Duckling reminds me of Dr. Seuss story, The Sneetches, where everyone wants whatever is fashionable, either the star on their belly or not.  Even if we try to be different, at the end of the day we want to fit in somewhere.  Everyone needs a place to belong.

We all love the concept of change – While the Ugly Duckling undergoes a natural metamorphosis, we all love the idea of being able to change into something completely different and beautiful.  The Ugly Duckling undergoes the ultimate makeover. 

We love a success story – Good genes aside, we love that the Ugly Duckling succeeds.  He evolves into an elegant swan and is taken into a group where he belongs leaving the other ducks at the edge of the pond wondering what happened.  He now holds his head up high having achieved everything he ever wanted and we smile with him.

It gives us hope – Deep down in our hearts we want to believe that everyone has a chance to live their dream, no matter how large or small it may be.  Maybe you just want to take a swim in a pond and feel like a part of the group, or maybe you want to travel to the moon, either way we want to know that little bit of hope is out there and we can achieve our goals.

We love the Ugly Duckling because at its core it is more than simply a story about outward beauty, it is a story about life, and we can all relate.

Hands on Me
Kim Carmichael
Keith Publications

Agent Gwen Fredricks is a living target.  Captured after a failed mission, the code to crack a safe has literally been permanently hidden on her.  To free herself, she must retrieve a final key.   All
Agent Colin Alexander has to do to avoid a desk job is get a code said to be on an enemy agent.   He never dreamed it would actually be on the agent, especially Gwen.

The simple shoot-and-swoop mission takes a turn for these two sometime-lovers and full-time rivals when they call a truce to give into their desire.  Now with the promise to keep both hands on each other at all times, they share a night together.  Loyalties are tested when Gwen manages to swipe the key away, and Colin discovers the code carefully embedded into Gwen's tramp stamp tattoo in a glow of UV light.  When morning comes they must decide if what they feel for each other is worth betraying their agencies.

About the Author:

Kim Carmichael began writing eight years ago when her love of happy endings inspired her to create her own.  She has a weakness for bad boys and techno geeks, and married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep all her gadgets running.  When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.


"Stop!" A man yelled.

The barrel of another gun met her inches from her face. She tensed, not from the gun, but from the familiar inflection in his voice. The position of both their weapons hid the man's face.

"Get in and lower your gun, or we'll both lose."

"Back up and lower yours, or you won't have a hand left." No one told her what to do, not ever again. 

The click of her cocking her weapon echoed around them.

He stepped back. "Get in and close the door."

With her gun still raised, she stepped and waited for her opponent to flinch first.

"Now." He moved a fraction of an inch.

She did the same, and with the silent acknowledgement they would both comply, they lowered their guns in unison. She almost shot herself in the foot at the sight of the man who greeted her. Before she made a mistake, she de-cocked her gun and shook her head. "Colin?" Her body betrayed her by trembling. Was this her punishment?

"Gwen." He shoved the gun in his waistband. "You're the one. I would have never guessed."

Think. She screamed at herself to remember her training, and not allow him to best her or distract her. She glanced around the room, giving her time to not look at him. Agents were supposed to be everyday people and blend in, but Colin Alexander stood out. From the moment she quite literally fell into his lap through a two-story ceiling three years ago, she wasn't sure why his agency chose such a standout. She supposed his combed-back black hair and golden eyes were some bizarre form of female torture.


Why do you think we like the Ugly Duckling stories? Please leave a comment for Kim, and a valid email address and you'll be entered into her giveaway for your choice of a skin care product or vintage Harlequin. 


  1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Kim! And I can attest to cool beauty products from you!

  2. Louisa thank you so much for having me here as well. You are my mentor and my friend. It is an honor to know you!

  3. I loved the book Kim! Really, loved it. I am so excited to see all that is happening in your life! This is great for me, I can visit Louisa and Kim all at the same time!

    Great blog post!


    1. thanks Nikki! I am loving yours as well!! You are an amazing inspiration for me!