Today it’s my pleasure to host, Kayla Jameth. Kayla's first novel, "Alexios’ Fate" was set in ancient Greece. Being a student of history, she took great care to ensure all aspects of that story were as accurate as possible. Her "Next Big Thing" "Cinderfella" is scheduled for release on January 4th .
What is the working title of your book?
From the Ashes is a Cinderfella set in 16th century France. A Cinderfella is an m/m version of the classic Cinderella story.Cendres is the French word for ashes and is the root word for Cinderella, little ash girl. Since Cinderella comes from the ashes, it seemed like the perfect title for my tale of how Cinder rises from the ashes.
A friend told me about a submission call for m/m fairy tales. I've always loved fairy tales. The romance, the grand gestures, the happily ever after, not to mention the fantastical settings and descriptions. It's all so much bigger than life.
So I tried to come up with a logical, probable explanation of why Cinder would be dressed as a servant girl in his own home. So Dame Constancia was born, a greedy, grasping cold-hearted harridan of a stepmother who would stop at nothing to steal Cinder's inheritance from him.
Thus Cinder finds himself forced into his stepsister's cast offs at the tender age of 8 and renamed Cinderella. Cinder is approaching maturity, but because of a poor diet, he still doesn't look like a young man. Delayed puberty has kept him small, his voice from changing, and hair from sprouting in inconvenient places. But even that won't hide his stepmother's subterfuge much longer because the changes are starting to occur in his body.
What genre does your book fall under?
From the Ashes is an m/m historical erotic romance. It's mostly historical, but Cinder does still have a fairy godmother. It's not really a paranormal either. Maybe I should just stick to calling it an m/m erotic romance. Like Cinder, From the Ashes defies description.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Dougray Scott is not only Drew Berrymore's Prince Charming; he's who I modeled Prince Henri on.
As for Cinder? I think the lovely young model on the cover of From the Ashes is perfect. If I could tell you his name, I would but he's only listed as "a stylish teenager". <Sigh...> He's obviously a young man, but you can see how long hair, a dress, and a known history of being a girl could lead one to overlook the obvious and believe the "fact" that he is a young woman instead.
What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
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 to send him off to meet his Prince Charming.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
From the Ashes is with Breathless Press and will be available January 4, 2013. They have all my published works.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first rough draft of From the Ashes took approximately a week to write and was only about 10K long. I reworked it and the second draft was 15K long. By the time I finished all my beta readers' suggestions, From the Ashes was over 20K.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not sure I can answer that. I haven't read anything similar in the "genre". Whatever its true genre is. M/M erotic romance is a little too broad and the other stories in the category have very little in common with From the Ashes. I haven't even read any Cinderfella slash to compare it to. From the Ashes is a twisted fairy tale.
I have read some fantasy stories by SA Payne, Emily Veinglory, and Ann Somerville, but the fantasy genre was the extent of the similarities.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Linda Reilly was originally responsible for the inception of From the Ashes. She was the first of Cinder's godmothers. Rebecca Leigh liked the story and suggested that I go ahead and submit it, but the submission call had closed by that time. She is the second of Cinder's godmothers. Deanna Wadsworth kept pushing me to submit From the Ashes somewhere. She played a large role in finally convincing me and in adding layers and expanding scenes until I had more that the basic form of the tale. Deanna is the last of Cinder's godmothers.
What else about your book might interest the reader?
I think From the Ashes biggest draw is the traditional fairy tale happily ever after. It's nice to know that good people who are treated shabbily can still rise above all that and win the ultimate prize.
The setting, 16th century France, is somewhat exotic and full of interesting tidbits. I try to give you a taste of Cinder's world without drowning the reader in details. As it is a fairy tale, it is told in Cinder's voice, i.e. in the vernacular. From the Ashes doesn't read as a Regency Era novel, mainly because it predates that era.
I guess for me, the most important thing is that Cinder's godmothers love From the Ashes. I hope everyone else does as well.
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.
A knight and a former princess, Kayla Jameth now spends her time writing m/m romance. A true Renaissance woman, she has done everything from cross stitch like a proper lady to welding with the best of them. An eclectic life has left her with a unique understanding of the world inhabited by men and an appreciation for the difficulties faced by men in m/m relationships. It is her devout wish that her experiences translate into a richer telling of such tales.
You can find her here: