When we first began writing our Tempting Tales — sexy, gay twists on classic fairy tales — we deeply offended someone on the internet, who ranted that the children’s stories we all grew up reading should remain unsullied. We thought it rather amusing that this person was crusading to retain the purity of fairy tales when the original stories and folklore could aptly be renamed:
Fairy tales: “outside the box” pioneers
While most of us grew up on the sanitized Disney versions of fairy tales, the originals are pretty darn brutal. For example, Snow White’s nemesis was originally her mother, but the Grimms made her a stepmother in the second edition of their tales. Apparently a jealous mom having her daughter murdered and wanting to eat the child’s internal organs was a little much even for them.
But not to worry! Whether mother or stepmother, the evil queen is punished for her transgressions by dancing herself to death in red-hot iron shoes. Now there’s a visual of vengeance that’ll undoubtedly lead to peaceful slumber for young minds.
Meanwhile, the Brothers Grimm decided to make up for slightly softening Snow White by adding a jaunty dash of dismemberment to Rumpelstiltskin. In the original, the angry imp takes his ball and goes home, simply running away never to be seen again. But let’s face it — running away is for losers. No, better that he "in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two." Sweet dreams, kids!
Let’s talk about sex, baby
In original versions of Little Red Riding Hood, our plucky heroine realizes that grandma’s big eyes are actually those of the Big, Bad Wolf, and performs a striptease to distract the wolf so she can escape. This is just one example of how surprisingly sexual early fairy tales were. In fact, the end of some early versions of the tale read as, “sweet and sound she sleeps in granny's bed, between the paws of the tender wolf.” Bestiality and pedophilia has never sounded so romantic!
In the Rapunzel we heard as children, we don’t recall the prince knocking up our heroine with premarital sex. Forget happily ever after — more like wocka chicka bam bam! Meanwhile, in Giambattista Basile’s version of Sleeping Beauty, it’s a dashing king who comes across the titular heroine. Naturally he has sex with her while she’s unconscious (as you do), and carries on his merry casual-rapist way, having gotten her pregnant with twins. Oh, and he’s totally already married! The queen tries to serve him the babies for dinner (because cannibalism is always a welcome addition to fairy tales), but in the end she gets burned alive and the king marries Sleeping Beauty. He’s a keeper!
A gay twist on fairy tales
So, you can see why we don’t really consider our reimagined erotica fairy tales to be particularly offensive to the proud legacy of fairy tales. We love using the original tales as inspiration and a jumping-off point to create new fantastical worlds and erotic romances between two men. We were eager to explore the common fairy tale trope of instalove in our new novel. This story is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses (one of the much less gruesome Grimm tales!), and of course it's our prince, Mateo, and his secret fairy lover that are the focus in this reimagining. Ópalo has waited for years for his human mate, and loves Mateo immediately.
But for Mateo, instalust doesn’t equal love. We wanted to tweak the trope and have Mateo and Ópalo grapple with expectations and fate in a different kind of fairy tale. Of course our tales aren’t your grandmother’s bedtime stories. Mateo’s heart might be playing hard to get, but his arse sure isn’t!
What’s your favorite fairy tale? Did you ever read the original, darker versions as a kid?
There’s no greater mystery in the kingdom than how Prince Mateo’s sisters wear out their shoes each night while locked away in their chambers. Using old magic, Mateo discovers their secret and follows them through a portal to an enchanted world of fairies and lusty delights. Ópalo has waited years for his male human, and he knows Mateo is his destiny. Mateo soon succumbs to the pleasures of the flesh, but as their worlds collide, Ópalo has to risk everything to win his man forever.
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About the authors
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical and fantasy fiction, and – although she loves delicious angst along the way – Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.
While Leta Blake would love to tell you that writing transports her to worlds of magic and wonder and then safely returns her to a home of sparkling cleanliness and carefully folded laundry, the reality is a bit different. For as long as Leta can recall, stories have hijacked her mind, abducting her to other lands, and forcing her to bend to the will of imaginary people. This absence from reality results in piles of laundry and forgotten appointments. In between abductions, Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family. You can find Leta online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.