Everyone was beautiful at the ballet,
Every prince has got to have his swan,
Yes, everyone was beautiful at the ballet,
Hey, I was pretty…at the ballet.
–“At The Ballet”, from A Chorus Line
In Love’s Nest, our latest sexy gay fairy tale, Keira Andrews and I wanted to create a world, similar to the universe in our first book, Earthly Desires, in which the characters’ sexuality does not matter even a little bit. We wanted to create a story that did not focus on dynamics of coming out, on social anxieties, fears, or hiding who the characters loved.
Unfortunately, in a contemporary or historical piece it is unrealistic to attempt to ignore such important personal and social issues for the sake of a sweet story. But fairy tales a perfect way to sidestep that sort of problem. In a magical realm where homoamorous feelings are accepted as nothing of consequence, and revelation of one’s sexuality passes without problem or fanfare, the characters are able to leave aside all that heavy and realistic baggage for explorations of another sort.
In a similar vein, I recently had the opportunity to watch Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at Celebrate Brooklyn. If you’ve never heard of Trockadero, allow me to quote from Wikipedia: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is an American all-male drag ballet corps which parodies the conventions and clichés of romantic and classical ballet.
The word ‘parodies’ above does a disservice to what I saw Trockadero doing that night before the deluge of rain came down and spoiled the beautiful ballet. I saw men in beautiful dresses, complete with tutus, a mass of dark chest hair still visible over the white of the heart-shaped bodice, who were beautifully, passionately, and, yes, sometimes humorously dancing out the stories of ballets I have long loved. The fact that they were in drag did not detract from the raw masculinity of their corps and when the tragic ending of Swan Lake played out, my heart wrenched in my chest. Perhaps all the more because it was a different sort of swan and a different sort of prince.
It is my belief that the familiarity of old tales gives us an emotional touchstone that does not disappear when different variables such as gender or sex are changed. And yet those changes can be powerful and cause the heart and mind to reexamine everything they thought they knew about the original tale simply because it now stars two heroes or two heroines. And I firmly believe that Trockadero is as brilliant and masterful as it is due to that wrenching open of rusted doors, the release of emotions associated with the old ballets we have loved a long time combined with the magnificent choreography—often beautiful, sometimes comedic, but never campy, and always genius.
If you have a chance to check out Trockadero, please consider doing so. They are certainly worth the price of a ticket. (Though I was lucky enough to see them for free! Until it rained. Boo!)
Love’s Nest is a fairy tale based on the classic The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is wholly re-imagined with a fairies, a fairyland, and many, many feathers. We are excited for the book and hope that readers enjoy reading about a world where today’s issues can be left behind and a familiar story ignites passionately as two handsome heroes face problems that only a fairy tale world can produce.
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.
Leta Blake Bio:
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 from that. 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. When not spirited away by demanding imaginary people, Leta lives happily with her husband, her kid, and one too many dogs in the Southern United States.
Keira Andrews Bio:
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 both contemporary and historical 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.