The truth is, I have a ton of favorite fairy tales, the darker the better. Bluebeard or The Wild Swans, for example, appeal to that side of me. But there is no doubt that one of my all time favorites is The Light Princess by George MacDonald. Given that the story centers around a princess who has been cursed to lose her gravity, one might image it to be a light tale, full of humor and jokes. It isn’t that at all, however. There are few crueler things than someone who cannot empathize with pain or sadness and The Light Princess demonstrates that well.
In fact, I was so inspired by the many questions the story brings up about the ties between an ability to experience pain and the ability to experience love, that the first fairy tale Keira and I worked on for our Tempting Tales series was an erotic, m/m rewrite of the story. We chose it because the themes were so fascinating, but also because when the gender of the protagonists change from a m/f story to a m/m story, it highlights those issues even more by removing the sharp edge of misogyny inevitably present in the original work.
The outcome of our experiment is titled Earthly Desires, and we are quite proud of it.
An Excerpt from Earthly Desires
Dmitri didn’t understand it, but as he gazed at Efrosin’s lips, he felt a heretofore unfamiliar, and yet compelling surge of need pulse through him, and before he could stop himself, he leaned forward and kissed those lips. The answering gasp, followed by more laughter that seemed to fill his own mouth and tickle against his palate, did not discourage him at all.
Efrosin’s lips were soft and his tongue was slick and he didn’t pull away from Dmitri’s clumsy attempt, but rather deepened the kiss in a way that made Dmitri’s toes curl and blood rush to his cock. For a confused moment he thought he was kissing an angel before he remembered that he was only kissing a prince. A free-floating, beautiful, powerful, laughing prince. Perhaps “only” was not quite the proper word.
“Lovely,” Efrosin exclaimed, pulling away and licking his lips. “I hope you intend to ravish me, because I have always imagined it would be quite fun to be ravished. No one’s ever tried it with me, alas.” Efrosin frowned a little and licked his mouth. “You taste like dirt. It’s delicious, though I’ve never enjoyed the taste of dirt before. How odd.”
“You taste like clouds,” Dmitri said, hoping it was a compliment.
“I ate quite a few during my journey to this tree,” Efrosin said. “I…feel a bit strange. Quick. Kiss me again.”
Dmitri, reminded of Efrosin’s perilous flight, came to his senses, and while he was not willing to say that he would not kiss the prince again, he did think there were just a few things that should be accomplished first. “We must get you down.”
Efrosin frowned, seeming much less intent on getting back to the earth now that he had company in the tree. “But you will kiss me again?”
“Once we’re safe.” Dmitri looked down to choose which limbs they should try, and immediately wished he hadn’t. His head swirled with the distance between his body and the earth below. He’d never before climbed so high.
“Safe is such a thrilling state of being. I can’t remember the last time I felt safe. Grip my hands,” Efrosin said. “Don’t let go.”
Dmitri took Efrosin’s smooth hands into his own, and Efrosin began to shake with amusement again. “Your calluses tickle. Now, hold tight. It will be fun.”
“What will be?” Dmitri asked.
“We are tied hand and foot, and you have hold of my hands. All will be well. Trust me.”
It was surprisingly hard to trust laughing royalty. “We’ll die. It’s too far.”
“Too far? What a silly notion.”
Dmitri’s last thought when Efrosin kicked his feet out from under him with a strong swipe was, At least I got to kiss him. They tumbled into the air, crashing into branches below until Efrosin pushed off against the tree trunk, thrusting them both clear. It was only then Dmitri realized how slowly the ground rose up to meet them.
“Your weight to bring us down,” Efrosin sang in his ear. “My levity to keep us from being quite smashed.” There was more laughter, and then a curl of words in his ear, which, coupled with the rush of adrenaline coursing through his veins, made Dmitri’s cock stiffen against the hard bone of Efrosin’s hip. “And you will ravish me, won’t you? Once we’re on the ground. You promised. You’re so handsome, and your hands are so big. I’m aquiver at the thought of you on me, in me, touching me—”
“Oh my God,” Dmitri choked. “Do you speak to everyone who gets you down from trees this way?”
Keira Andrews and Leta Blake write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Ascending Hearts, available through Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others! And also remember to look at Earthly Desires, the first book in the Tempting Tales series, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.
Hi! This is Leta and Keira, authors of the Tempting Tales series from Ellora’s Cave. We published the first book in the series, Earthly Desires at the end of June, and are hoping the second book will be out before the end of the year. These novellas are erotic, m/m tales inspired by fairy and folk tales. We’re giving away an electronic copy of Earthly Desires, so please comment if you’d like to win it!
We decided that answering some faux interview questions might be a fun way to introduce ourselves.
1. What is it about fairy and folk tales that inspires you?
Keira: I love that many of these stories – particularly fairy tales – are larger than life, with epic journeys and romances. There’s so much freedom in the fantasy genre to create and expand on worlds that are so different from our own. Yet the characters face the same struggles we do, and we can connect with their struggles. I’m also a sucker for a happily ever after!
Leta: Keira stole my answer. Haha! Actually, to go a bit further with it, the most inspiring thing to me about fairy tales is how deeply erotic and symbolic they often are. On the surface, a story like Little Red Riding Hood, for example, is about a child on her way to Grandmother’s house with a basket of goodies who is waylaid by a dangerous wolf and the potentially terrible outcome of that. Generally, people see it as a tale of stranger danger, but it’s a highly charged tale of sexual temptation at its core. It’s not just the fear factor of the scary bad wolf that sends a thrill up the reader’s spine, but the fact that an elemental part of us recognizes the sexual awakening within the story and wants Red to be lured by the wolf to whatever outcome might befall her.
Fairy tales and folk tales are already sexually charged, and finding a way into those stories, so that I can play with the symbolism in ways that are fun or new-to-me, is very inspiring.
2. Why have you chosen to re-write the tales with homosexual characters, specifically m/m couplings? Do you plan to ever branch out to f/f tales?
Keira: We all grew up with these stories of princes and princesses, and we thought it would be exciting to reimagine the tales with two male protagonists. We also really dig hot guys having sex together. 😀 We’re focused at the moment on m/m, but I’m certainly not opposed to f/f, which is underrepresented in the romance genre, in my opinion.
Leta: There is definitely an appeal to hot men together, but, for me, the larger interest has always been in imagining how archetypal situations feel different and play out in different ways when the sex or gender of the protagonists are changed. I enjoy thinking about the various ways that Sleeping Beauty is a different story when Beauty is Beau, and he’s a very handsome dude. Because changing up the genders and sexes can be so much fun, I do hope to one day look at the f/f side of things and to possibly explore some trans characters within fairy tales settings. At this point, though, it appears that the first four stories will definitely be m/m. I have a story featuring a more gender-bending character in mind for Fall 2013, though, if our insane writing schedule goes according to plan. And I’d love to do a f/f tale in 2014, perhaps.
3. What was your favourite fairy tale as as child? Has it changed as an adult?
Keira: As a kid my favourite was Cinderella. I loved the Disney movie and that everyone was mean to poor Cinderella but she rose above it and found her prince. I actually don’t think it’s changed as an adult. I do have more appreciation for the darker tales that freaked me out as a kid (Hansel and Gretel was so upsetting to me!), but at heart I’m a hopeless romantic.
4. What other writing do you or have you done in the past? What can we anticipate from you aside from Tempting Tales in the next few years?
Keira: I’ve written a number of contemporary and historical romances, as well as a YA novel. Along with our m/m fairy tales, I’m working on a post-WWII historical at the moment. Also have many other ideas, so you can expect a variety of books in the future!
Leta: In the next year, in addition to the tales, I hope to finish my LGBT-themed coming-of-age book set in the recent past of the 1990s. I sincerely hope to find a good home for it in 2013. I have several novels of magical, speculative, and contemporary fiction in the works as well, and hope to have them completed over the next couple of years. I am eager to get these books out into the world. Some of them have really taken their time coming to fruition. In the end, I hope those who read them enjoy the stories as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.
Don’t forget to comment to win an e-book of our first book in the Tempting Tales series!
Leta Blake and Keira Andrews write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Earthly Desires, the first book in the series, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.