Monday, May 13, 2013
From The Ashes Blog Tour
Thank you for asking me to join you here today, Barb. I've spent some time thinking about the question you posed me: "If you were to wake up one morning and find yourself in the middle of a fairytale which one would it be and why?"
It seems rather apropos, considering my recent novella From the Ashes is a m/m retelling of Cinderella, a Cinderfella if you will.
I spent some time floundering, wondering in what fairytale I could possible wish to play a starring role. I'm a tomboy and have never wanted some prince to sweep me off my feet. I can take care of myself. So I decided I would just stick to my favorite tale and as I outlined below why it was my favorite, I discovered that I wouldn't mind being the unnamed girl.
My favorite fairytale is East of the Sun and West of the Moon. It is archetypal, following in the footsteps of its predecessor the ancient Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. Even the story of Beauty and the Beast shares many common elements. The princes in the tales are variously: a bear, a beast, or invisible, but all take a man's shape when they share the girls' beds. In all stories, the female relatives interfere due to jealousy and cost the heroine her happy home.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon is the story of a young girl who, in exchange for making her family rich, is given to a talking white bear. She lives in a beautiful palace and is given every good thing by the bear. Every night the bear becomes a prince and shares her bed in the dark.
Eventually, homesick, she prevails on the bear to allow her to visit her family. Her sisters, whom she has sacrificed so much for, are immediately jealous. Her mother upon hearing that the bear shares her bed insists that the prince can only be a troll. She gives her youngest daughter a tallow candle and says she must see for herself what shares her bed.
After her return, she waits until the bear is asleep. She lights the candle, and in her excitement at finding a handsome prince, spills three drops of tallow on his nightshirt. He awakes in pain from the hot tallow and tells her that she has cursed him. Because she had not trusted him, he must now return to his stepmother a wicked troll who had turned him into the bear and marry her daughter a troll princess. His stepmother lives in a castle east of the sun and west of the moon.
In the morning, when she awakes, the prince and his palace are gone.
What I like about this tale is that the heroine is not the one in need of rescuing. She decides the prince is worth her time and sets off on a quest to rescue him from his fate. There is no easy fix, the prince doesn't take her away from a life of drudgery, and she is not defined by who loves her.
This young girl never sits back and whines about how unfair everything is, no one warned her, or that she can't do it. Our heroine digs down deep and does what it takes to earn/build her own happiness.
She finds the castle east of the sun and west of the moon and uses the items she has collected on her journey to bribe her way in to see her prince. But his stepmother drugs him each night. He discovers what she has been doing and feigns drinking the sleeping potion.
The prince explains that he will declare he will only marry someone who can wash the tallow stains (beef fat) from the shirt. Thereby setting the conditions and contributing to his own release. This joint effort symbolizes their union as a team.
I am not and have never considered myself to be the damsel in distress. I'm the oldest of four and was expected to look out for the rest and as such could not be less like the heroines in modern romances nor have I ever identified with them. This is why I read and write m/m erotic romance.
From the Ashes avoids some of the clichés present in the original Cinderella story simply by being a m/m romance. Cinder is not just a pretty face waiting to be swept off his feet by his prince. And just like the heroine of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, neither of my heroes is waiting to be rescued. Cinder and Henri band together to build their own future. That's the kind of dedication I see as true romance.
FROM THE ASHES
by Kayla Jameth
Cinder never thought that he could rise from the ashes of his life, but an unexpected encounter with a woman claiming to be his fairy godmother may be just what he needs. Finding himself flung into his very own fairy tale, she sends him off to meet his Prince Charming. But was the gown really necessary?
Cinder glanced around. Paper lanterns floated in the trees, lined the walks, and graced the gazebo near the reflecting pool, giving the grounds a mystical air. Their warm glow caught the dancing jets of the fountain splashing merrily to his right. The musical, crystalline tones carried on the night wind’s breath. He was reminded of the enchanted gardens in the fairy tales his father had read to him when he was a child. What would happen to him if he dared walk there?
Henri led him toward the gazebo. Soon he would find out.
The cool breeze caressed his uncovered neck. Cinder shivered at the ethereal touch. Henri turned to him, the question clear in his eyes, but he didn’t know how to answer. Instead he breathed in the tangible scent of rich earth and flowing water, hoping to calm his bounding heart.
Henri lightly stroked his arm. Cinder’s breath caught at the silky brush of the other man’s fingers. He drew another shaky breath. Henri may have meant to soothe him; instead his touch set Cinder’s wayward body aflame.
They left the last of the courtiers behind as they entered the dim interior of the fanciful pavilion. Vines climbed its intricately carved posts, perfuming the air within. The music and voices of the aristocrats faded away. Only a single intrepid nightingale could be heard over the cheerful burbling of the fountain. Hidden from the rest of the court, an unworldly sense of peace filled him. Was his very own fairy tale about to come true?
Bespelled and bemused, he could feel the magic in every beat of his heart, in every trembling breath he drew.
Once inside the bower, Henri reached to cup Cinder's cheek. Unused to being touched, he nearly flinched away but managed to still, heart pounding, before giving himself away. The older man's thumb slid across his cheekbone and came to rest lightly on his mouth. Why did he want to lean into that caress?
The other man's warm, slightly musky scent filled his nostrils, drowning his senses.
Henri's other hand wrapped around his waist and drew him close. He leaned closer while tipping Cinder's face upwards. Cinder's breath left him in a rush, stirring the noble’s hair. Henri was all that he could see, his mouth slowly, carefully descending toward Cinder’s. If he allowed this, the other man might discover his deception. He couldn’t risk that, so why then did he ache to feel Henri’s kiss? Their lips brushed, light as thistle down.
Surprisingly, Henri's mouth was soft and warm upon his own. After a moment, it pressed more firmly against his. Something fluttered in his chest, trying to get out.
Cinder didn't think to pull away until he felt Henri's tongue seeking entrance. The hand on his face slipped to his nape and held firm. He froze in shock, not even daring to breathe, as flames rushed through his body. The very beat of his heart betrayed him.
The questing tongue stroked his lips and pushed between them. It slid over his teeth, seeking to enter. When he protested, Henri swept in and began a lazy, sensuous exploration that left him breathless.
Soon he found himself returning the caress. Henri responded to his fledgling attempts by pulling him closer and moaning into his mouth. He had never experienced anything so sensual and erotic. He fed his own needy pleas to the other man one at a time.
Finally they separated slightly, Cinder panting heavily, trying to catch his breath. Was Henri as affected by their kiss as he was? A quick glance confirmed Cinder was not alone in his arousal. Flushed and gasping, Henri gazed at him with eyes full of wonder and something unnamed smoldering in their depths.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A bit of a tomboy, Kayla Jameth grew up pretending to be a Native American brave on her family's farm. Somewhat eclectic, she can weld, make maple syrup, and even earned a knighthood making medieval costumes. Although she is now a veterinarian, her love of all things ancient led her to minor in Classical History. Now she spends her free time writing m/m erotic romance.
Find me at:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/KaylaJameth
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kayla-Jameth/e/B0054SNO4C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1363308908&sr=8-2
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Naughty-Nursery-Rhymes-ebook/dp/B00AWGDDOW/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3