One of my favorite fairy tales is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling.
The mother duck is hatching her last egg, one which is different from all the others that already hatched into lovely little duckettes. There’s wild speculation about what type of egg it is, because it’s big and not at all like her other eggs. Is it a turkey? The mother decides she will sit on her egg a little longer until it hatches despite it not being a duck.
At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, “Peep, peep.” It was very large and ugly. The duck stared at it and exclaimed, “It is very large and not at all like the others. I wonder if it really is a turkey. We shall soon find it out, however when we go to the water. It must go in, if I have to push it myself.”
Poor duckling, so unlike his siblings. An outcast, black sheep and worst of all, different. During my childhood, I remember thinking that I never quite fit in. It was an internal thing with me. I had friends and fun in school, but a part of me never completely fit the social mode. I call it The Me, Not Me syndrome.
Because the duckling doesn’t look like everyone else, the other ducks bite him and tease him. One duck wants him to leave. I love how the mother sticks up for her odd little son, seeing the good in him and downplaying his ugliness. Character over beauty.
“Let him alone,” said the mother; “he is not doing any harm.”
“Yes, but he is so big and ugly,” said the spiteful duck “and therefore he must be turned out.”
“That is impossible, your grace,” replied the mother; “he is not pretty; but he has a very good disposition, and swims as well or even better than the others. I think he will grow up pretty, and perhaps be smaller; he has remained too long in the egg, and therefore his figure is not properly formed;” and then she stroked his neck and smoothed the feathers, saying, “It is a drake, and therefore not of so much consequence. I think he will grow up strong, and able to take care of himself.”e others are very pretty children,” said the old duck, with the rag on her leg, “all but that one; I wish his mother could improve him a little.”
The duckling finds himself alone in the big world. Being ugly isn’t all bad because it saves him from being hunted. He discovers his love for water and wants to find his own path.
“You don’t understand me,” said the duckling.
“We don’t understand you? Who can understand you, I wonder? Do you consider yourself more clever than the cat, or the old woman? I will say nothing of myself. Don’t imagine such nonsense, child, and thank your good fortune that you have been received here. Are you not in a warm room, and in society from which you may learn something. But you are a chatterer, and your company is not very agreeable. Believe me, I speak only for your own good. I may tell you unpleasant truths, but that is a proof of my friendship. I advise you, therefore, to lay eggs, and learn to purr as quickly as possible.”
Instead of taking the advice of others, he goes out in the world again, searching for where he belongs. It’s this journey of self-discovery that transforms him into his true self – a beautiful swan. Others now appreciate his beauty, yet, all those times he was jeered at, teased and told that he was ugly has scarred him. At first he’s ashamed for being happy that he’s beautiful. When this moment passes, he allows his happiness and joy to shine through.
Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, “I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.”
I love ‘ugly duckling’ stories – a person’s journey in finding their true self. In romance, often times our hero(ines) are beautiful, handsome, powerful, seemingly perfect. The characters that stand out are the one’s that are flawed. Everyone has some ‘ugly duckling’ in them and if brought out in a story, it makes the character real, complex and fascinating to watch their discovery of what’s truly important.
Viki Lyn: Award winning author of male/male paranormal and contemporary romances. You can find all of Viki’s books at the following sites: Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and GLBT Bookshelf.
Pride will be the death of him.
When psychic Nate Coleman dreams of a murder, he knows it’s a premonition. He can’t forget the image of his ex-lover with a bullet hole through his chest. Nate has no choice but to confront William and face the skeptical scientist’s ridicule.
Dr. William Ryner doesn’t believe in what he can’t prove. When Nate comes back into his life, it’s not to rekindle their love, but to bring up more of that mumbo jumbo that split them apart.
Despite William’s refusal to listen, Nate can’t ignore the premonition. And, William can’t ignore Nate. Before the gunman strikes, William must either trust in Nate’s ability or rely only on the facts, but if he does the latter, pride could be the death of him.
Keira and I are excited to announce that the second book in our Tempting Tales series, Ascending Hearts, is available through Ellora’s Cave! A fairy tale romance based on Jack & the Beanstalk, Ascending Hearts is by turns sexy, angsty, romantic, sweet, and (hopefully) satisfying.
We’re thrilled to finally have it available for fans of the first book, Earthly Desires, and for new readers who haven’t had read any of the series yet. Each book in Tempting Tales is a stand-alone story based on a different fairy tale, so there is no need to have read Earthly Desires first, but if you’d like to check it out, too, we certainly won’t stop you!
In addition, can we get a whoot-whoot! for the gorgeous cover art by Dar Albert? She’s captured Jack so beautifully here and we are beyond thrilled with it.
Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.
Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world changes. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.
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.
I’m not much of a cook – just ask anyone in my family, and they would agree! So instead of food, I’m going to post two cocktails that I’m considering for my New Year’s Day party. Both of these drinks were inspired by one of my scenes in Sins of Lust – my paranormal m/m romance.
Now angels can’t hold Earth liquor too well, and Uri-el is no exception. And, I’m giving away a scene here so if you don’t want to read further… There’s a scene where Uri is at a bar and of course, being an otherworldly creature, the bartender is enamored with him. He insist on making him a drink called Angel Face. Yes, it’s really a cocktail I found on the Internet. Now Izar is irritated that the bartender can’t seem to take his eyes off of Uri and mutters that the appropriate drink for Uri is really a Devilish Daiquiri!
Here are the recipes for both of these wonderful concoctions!
(drink recipe from Diffords Guide: http://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/521/angel-face)
1 shot of dry gin
1 shot of calvados
1 shot of apricot brandy liqueur
Best glass to use: Martini glass and garnish with a very thin apples slice.
Hot Devilish Daquiri
(recipe from Drinks Mixer: http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink4333.html)
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar 2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
6 oz frozen lemonade concentrate
6 oz frozen limeade concentrate
1/2 cup light rum
In 2 qt. microproof casserole, combine hot water, sugar, spices, and concentrated juices. Stir, then cook on HI 5-6 minutes or until mixture boils. Heat rum in microproof container on HI for 30 seconds. Ignite and pour over hot beverage. Ladle into punch cups for serving.
It’d be pretty cool to light the punch bowl on fire but be careful!
Thou shall not kill.
For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.
When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.
As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.