Why do fairy tales eternally return? We never seem to get tired of them. While most people know the Disney versions best, surprisingly few have read the Grimm versions upon which they were based, which can be very grim indeed. Those in turn were based upon oral retellings of stories by German and Alsatian women, which were then shaped by the brothers to form a collection. The Kinder- und Hausmärchen had a political intent as well as a literary and linguistic one as the brothers wanted to give people a sense of identity from the stories.
If you read the actual tales, you may find yourself surprised at all the clever servants who outwit their masters, parents who kill their children and siblings who actively fight against one another to the death. We forget how harsh life was in fairly recent past. In our time of relative comfort where children are coddled and made the center of their parents’ existence, it’s hard to imagine a time when parents might have to choose between children and survival. When we say “fairy tale” it usually means something that’s unbelievably perfect (like a fairy tale wedding or castle).
These are the stories that have sunk into our bones: tales of survival and magic. Across the world versions of these stories are told and re-told with different names and different details, but they have the same power. These narratives explore how we cope with danger, with grief and with opportunity—how we make choices at those pivotal moments. And that’s why they’ll never go out of style.
My new release is inspired by the well-known tale Rumplestiltskin, though I’ve made it an M/M romance with a twist and set it in the Middle Ages. I hope you enjoy.
Blurb: It was bad enough that the prince had to see Freawine’s father making his wild drunken boasts. But he believed them! How long would it be before the dreamy but intimidating prince discovered Freawine couldn’t really spin straw into gold—or that this “girl” was really a boy?
Excerpt: Freawine sat looking at the mounds of straw all around him in the tiny room. Panic rose to his throat like a choking hand. What to do? Only two options came to mind—he could continue to curse his braggart father as he had done for the last quarter of an hour or so, or he could begin to think what his new life might be like without his head.
Rather short, he imagined.
Freawine found it a challenge to think clearly when his life was about to come to an abrupt end. The cold gray stones around him stood impassively silent, like the guards who lounged outside the door. No one was going to rescue him. Still, he found it pleasant to picture a handsome knight charging up the road to the castle, his valiant steed’s hooves clattering across the cobblestones of the courtyard, then rushing up the stairs to this little room at the top of the tower and sweeping Freawine away to safety. Followed by a very hot and sweaty session of delightful indulgence, of course.
He twisted one of his long locks and sighed again. If he were a real girl this would never have happened. His life had been nothing but secrets and lies—now the price had come due.
If only his father had not made that stupid boast in the tavern yard! If only the prince had not been passing by with his entourage of noble ladies and gentlemen, falcons on their wrists and laughter on their lips. If only the prince had not taken it into his head to make a grand offer–and an ominous threat.
If wishes were horses, his mother would have said, then we would all ride with the nobles to the fair.
At the moment, Freawine preferred to imagine that wishes might be doves that could carry him far from this tower room and his troubles.
Bio: C. Margery Kempe is a writer of erotic romance distinguished by its humour, intelligence and fearless sensual pleasures. Her stories range from contemporary thrillers to medieval era fairy tales. An English professor by day, she also writes on medieval literature, film, creative writing and New Media, as well as humor, drama, mainstream and genre fiction under her real name, noir as Graham Wynd and non-explicit romance as Kit Marlowe. She’s a weekly blogger at Lady Smut on Fridays.
The Giveaway: A $15/£10 Amazon Gift Card