We Need Worlds Free of Prejudice to Play In #trockadero #ballet #fairytales #mmromance #kindle

The beautiful swan.

In June, I was lucky enough to see the male ballet corps, Trockadero de Monte Carlo. To quote a YouTube user named MozartGirl1756: The Trocks are trying to tell the world that you don’t need to have giant sticks up your ass, noses up in the air and serious for it to be this to be wonderful art form. They’re all amazing and talented dancers who are doing what they love, doing it beautifully AND showing us that ballet isn’t a stuffy form of entertainment.

What I found most amazing about seeing them was how, yes, as you’ll hear in the videos below, there was always a bit of laughter and comedy, but there were also times when the audience would go so still and quiet, emotionally absorbed by the beautiful dancing and the story playing out before them.

Here is a beautiful video of Swan Lake as performed by Trockadero de Monte Carlo:

Another video:

Seeing them, I was reminded of the Chorus Line song, “At the Ballet”, because, yes, everyone is beautiful at the ballet, every prince must have his swan, and the fact that the dancers are male and covered in chest and armpit hair make them no less beautiful. It was a real treat and I’d like to thank my friend, Pun, for taking me to the show.

Today I’m OVER HERE talking more about Trockadero de Monte Carlo, ballets, and how fairy tales and certain other stories can provide us with a world free of difficult, realistic baggage so that we can explore emotional touchstones in a more open-minded, open-hearted way.

Wow, that sounds super wanky. Go read and let me know if it’s wanky as it sounds. LOL!

As a reminder, Love’s Nest is available on Amazon now. Barnes & Noble and Sony are coming soon! It’s also up on Goodreads where you can mark it as “wanna read” or rate it if you’ve read it already! Hooray!

Cup o’ Porn – Friday Free For All – Love’s Nest Raffle! #free #ebook

At Cup o’ Porn today, Keira and I are offering up a free copy of our latest sexy fairy tale, Love’s Nest, in a random raffle! To participate click HERE!

For more information about Love’s Nest, and to determine if it’s a book you’d be interested in winning, please check out these blog posts:

1. Love’s Nest Release Day! It has a blurb and additional information about this sexy fairy tale. Gotta love hot gay fairies! 🙂
2. Love’s Nest 7/7/7 which has a small excerpt from the book.
3. The Next Big Thing which talks about the inspiration for Love’s Nest!

And I’ll include some of that imagery below, too.

So, head on over to Cup o’ Porn and sign in for the raffle to win Love’s Nest!

7/7/7 – Love’s Nest by Leta Blake & Keira Andrews

The awesome Amelia Gormley  tagged me for this game.

The rules:  Go to Page 7, 70, or 170 of a current Work in Progress or recently published work and choose either the first complete paragraph or 7 lines of dialogue to share. Paste to FB and tag 7 other authors to do the same.

Here are seven paragraphs from page 70 of Love’s Nest, released yesterday, and soon to be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and other online stores.


Cover by Dar Albert.
Cover by Dar Albert.

“While it’s true that what I do know I’m enamored of, I fear these feelings are based in something not entirely real.”

Ópalo looked queasy. The birds clicked and made barking noises of agitation.

Mateo swallowed against the odd sense that he was telling a lie, even though every word he said was true.

“This is real. And I believe you will choose it. You will choose me.” Ópalo’s hands shook, but he seemed convinced of his own words.

The shimmer of Ópalo’s eyes pulled at Mateo. He felt rather convinced himself, which was deliriously ridiculous and deliciously reassuring all at once. Still, he couldn’t keep his mind from supplying an argument. “For all your talk of choice, telling me not to eat the fairy cakes so I can be completely free to come and go as I like, where is your own choice in all of this?”

“What do you mean?”

“Only that you’ve waited for your ‘bride’ your whole life, and now that I’ve arrived, you’ve accepted me without a second thought. How can you be so certain I’m the man for you? You might not even like me once you’ve known me more than a day or two.”


Love’s Nest is inspired by The Twelve Dancing Princesses and explores, in part, the function of destiny in fairy tales, especially when one of the heroes doesn’t believe in fate or love at first sight.

Release Day! Wed, July 17!

Here we go, babies! Everyone who is always coming to this blog looking for “sex with fairies” (yes, I see you in my stats! 14 to 20 of you a day!) are in for a treat! The next book is about…dun, dun, dun! Fairies! And, yes, sex is had with the fairies! Whoot! 🙂

Cover by Dar Albert.
Cover by Dar Albert.

The blurb:

Part of the Tempting Tales series
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.

A Romantica® male/male erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

This story is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but has an entirely different feel, and not just because of the fact that it has two heroes. We have been notified that this upcoming Wednesday, July 17, will be the day, folks! So check back then to find out more!

New Cover! Love’s Nest!

Cover by Dar Albert.
Cover by Dar Albert.

I’m happy to present the cover for the upcoming fairy tale in Keira’s and my series! It’s a tale based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses and will clock in at over twice the length of the first two tales in the series. We’re hoping it will be out later this summer. We’re awfully excited and hope you love the cover as much as we do!

Release Day Is Here! Ascending Hearts Available!

Available now through Ellora’s Cave!

Today’s the day! Book Two in Keira’s and my Tempting Tales series is available at Ellora’s Cave! You can buy it HERE and it will be available shortly at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Sony and more! I’ll keep you in the loop as to availability at third-party retailers.


Based on Jack & the Beanstalk, Ascending Hearts is at turns angsty, romantic, sexy and hopeful.

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world changes. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.


You can buy Book One in the series, Earthly Desires, an erotic m/m fairy tale based on The Light Princess, at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, All Romance eBooks, and more!

And, again,  you can buy Book Two,  Ascending Hearts at Ellora’s Cave starting today! What a great way to kick off the New Year!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop – Leta Blake, Dancing Shoes


Amelia C. Gormley, the author of the wonderful Impulse Trilogy, tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, which was incredibly kind of her! Thanks, Amelia!

What is the working title of your book?

The original working title was Spanish Dancing Shoes, but over time it’s been shortened to just Dancing Shoes.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Keira and I have been working on our fairy tales series for the last year. After completing Earthly Desires, and while Keira was hammering out the details of Ascending Hearts, our upcoming tale based on Jack & the Beanstalk, I started reading the story City of Blind Delights by Catherynne M. Valente. Something about it sparked a whole fairy tale world in my head–nothing like the world of her story, but a world all the same. That all came together while reading The Twelve Dancing Princesses to my daughter at bedtime, and inspired by both, the flow of the book came easily at first.

What genre does your book fall under?

Fairy tale romance/erotica.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I don’t have any particular actors in mind, but I did create this Pinterest inspiration board to help guide my focus while writing the story.

This is Matteo.

And this is Ópalo. Well, except that his hair is actually pink feathers.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

In an effort to discover where his sisters disappear to at night, Matteo follows them to a new world and finds a new life he never expected.

Will your book be self published, published by a small press, or represented by an agency?

Assuming that all goes according to plan, the book will be published by Ellora’s Cave as part of Keira’s and my Tempting Tales series.

How long did it or how long do you anticipate that it will take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Too dang long! Haha! But there were several reasons for that. First, I stopped in the middle of the book to work on a long-running work in progress and that got us off track for a little while. Then we thought we’d really like to have a Christmas tale out this year, so we made a stab at that for a month or so, but in the end it was just not viable and we basically scrapped it. Third, the book was fighting us because it wanted to be longer than the novella length first two books in the series. Once we gave in to how long the book wanted to me, the characters really opened up and started sharing more with us. So, all in all, a first draft took about six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

You know, I’m not sure I’ve read another book quite like this one. We are trying to keep each book in our series unique. I suppose that in terms of the kind of fairy tale world, the romance, and the sexual nature of the book, the closest really would be the other two in our series, Earthly Desires (inspired by The Light Princess) and Ascending Hearts.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?


I believe I covered that above to a large degree, but I wanted to give a quick nod to Jim Henson’s The Storyteller series for giving me the kick in the behind I needed to start writing and working on this series with Keira. I’ve had several ideas for fairy tale reworkings for years, but last winter I indulged in a rewatch of The Storyteller as a kind of Christmas-comfort-winter-warmth and it lit me up inside with all kinds of ideas. I’m sure Jim Henson never intended someone to get inspired by his show and write a lot of gay romance and erotica, but that’s what happened. We owe it all to Jim Henson. Haha!

What else about your book might interest the reader?

I think it is imaginative and surprising. If you’ve read other reworkings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, I can guarantee you that this one is different in substance and style. It’s a sweet, spring book, and I’m hoping we can have it out in April or May, because it just seems like the kind of thing people should read when flowers are blooming.

This is where I was supposed to link to four more blogs. But I’m only posting a link to one (wonderful! awesome!) blog. Apparently, otherwise, the buck stops here, because everyone I asked except Nisha-Anne–and I asked a ton of people–have already done this and so, just like in P.E. class when I was a kid, I was the last chosen for the game. *sniff sniff* Haha! No worries. I suppose that it had to eventually peter out. I’m just disappointed that I couldn’t round up even more participants. Oh well! Thanks, Amelia, for this opportunity! It’s better to have been chosen last than never to be chosen at all?

Check out Nisha-Anne D’Souza on January 2nd! She’s the author of the book Calling Pomegranate and a brilliant woman. I’m sure that her work in progress is going to be worth waiting for!

Ascending Hearts Cover Art!


Keira and I are totally thrilled with the cover for our next novel Ascending Hearts! The marvelous Dar Albert is responsible for it and we could not be more pleased with her work! This is the Pinterest Board we sent her for inspiration and we think she did an amazing job capturing the spirit of it! Thank you, Dar!

More details about our upcoming release soon!

Writer Wednesday: Virginia Cavanaugh


Virginia Cavanaugh is a multi-published author of erotic romance. Her work covers many sub-genres as new characters present themselves to her every day. After working for years as a nurse in pediatrics, her love of the alpha hero sparked her desire to bring her own stories to life. When not playing housewife, mother, maid, laundress, taxi driver or just general all-around slave, she enjoys finding a quiet corner to read or work on her next story.

1. The tagline of your website it Pulse Pounding Romance. What is it about romance novels that gets your pulse pounding?

I would have to say a mixture of the heart pounding romance mixed with just the right amount of action packed plot.

2. Tell us a little about Just For Tonight. What makes it a different and compelling read?

Often romance reads tend to go through the fantasy of romance. Something to get lost in and take a reader away from their daily lives. In this story I took two middle class people and gave them a more true to life chance at romance. In my humble opinion this is another way to give a more realist view of romance to fuel the fantasy of finding love in day to day life.

3. You’ve written so many books. What keeps you inspired?

I’ve found inspiration in everything from a picture to something someone says in day to day life. Often a piece of dialogue will pop into my head, leading me to search out the character that spoke up.

4. How do you juggle writing and family life? Is there a secret? Or is it always madness?

Madness. I have a large family and two very needy dogs. I try to do most of my writing while the kids are school, but that doesn’t always work out as well as I’d like. But if someone finds the secret let me in on it. LOL

5. Out of your back catalogue, do you have a secret favorite? If so which one and why?

I have to say that Winter’s Shadow is a little special. I have never had a story move and flow so easily. It was the fastest I’ve ever written and has received great reviews. 3 five star reviews from review sites. Every other story, no matter how much I love it, has made me pull teeth on different days to move ahead. Each story has a special place in my heart, but I just wish they were all as easy to get out as Winter’s Shadow was.


Kelly Devers has a crush on her co-worker Thomas Brigs. For a year he’s been the object of her fantasies, but she hasn’t dared to make a move on him. But when Kelly finds out Thomas is leaving town, she throws caution to the wind and gives into the yearning she’s suppressed for far too long. Passion ignites as their bodies come together and Kelly is determined to enjoy the steamy loving. Even if it can’t last forever.
Buy Just for Tonight on Amazon!

Virginia on Facebook
Virginia on Goodreads
Virginia’s website

Writer Wednesday: Mardi Ballou


This week’s author, Mardi Ballou, is pleased to offer an e-book from her back catalogue, listed on her site, to one lucky winner. Leave a request that you’d like the book, and I’ll use the online dice roller to see who gets the highest number to win.


1. The Teach Him Tonight series is all about women teaching deserving men some valuable lessons. What inspired you to make this concept into a series?

So many men, so much inspiration. Magazines, the news, TV, movies — all are filled with examples of guys just begging for lessons in life and love. I imagine we all could tell our own stories. I think about the year my DH — I love him madly — chose a very special holiday gift just for me. Are you ready? Would you believe a tire gauge. When I got tears in my eyes, he looked puzzled. He said, “But it’s something you really need.” As this is the second marriage for both of us, I couldn’t help wondering if his first wife had ever tried to teach him anything. According to the grapevine, my ex gave his second wife great gifts… Never gave me any, but he sure learned how to treat the next one. Hmmm.

So my inspiration is guys. Also, you might have guessed this, I’m a teacher. It’s the way I organize the world. I see a guy, I want to teach him something. My heroines are like me in that regard. Take one great guy and help him meet his potential for romance. You’ll be happier, and I expect he will too.

2. Tell us a little about the first book in the series, Photo Finish.


Photo Finish is a sexy contemporary romance inspired by my daughter. When I published my first novel, my daughter said, “Wouldn’t it be something if a woman wrote a sexy novel and used her beautiful daughter’s photo as the picture of the author.” Hmm, what a great idea! Only for my book, I made the women sisters — Cassandra and K.C. Here’s the blurb:

Ambitious attorney Cassandra Harrell is primed to battle her hot, hunky opposing counsel Alex DeLuca-a.k.a. Alexander the Great — in the courtroom. Though she fantasizes about getting him into her bedroom, she’s determined to avoid this bad boy distraction and focus on her career.

Alex spots the author photo on the back cover of a steamy romance and recognizes Cassandra. Who knew the desirable but icy lawyer had such a fascinating sensuous side? When he teases her about the book at a deposition, she furiously denies any connection.

Her sister wrote the book and, for a prank, used Cassandra’s photo. Outraged at Alex for embarrassing her in front of clients, Cassandra plots a revenge lesson. This teacher comes out on top until her student raises the stakes — and the heat.

3. Tell us a about Emergency Ex, the second book in the series.


Inspiration is everywhere. So’s chocolate, thank goodness. Like so many others, I love chocolate. I’ve always wanted to write a story with a chocolatier as a main character, and here was my chance. The title and idea for Emergency Ex came to me on a train in England. I looked over at a window and saw written the words Emergency Ex. Right away I started thinking. What’s an Emergency Ex? Who’s an emergency ex? Of course I know the sign should have said Emergency Exit, but what fun would that be? Here’s the blurb:

“Love is the emotional chocolate of the universe.” Actually, successful chocolatier Brenda Lockheart deals with the sweet brown confection lots better than she does with love. For years she’s been in love with Keith Tarrant, her best friend with benefits. As her thirtieth birthday approaches, hot lovemaking and intense friendship no longer satisfy her. She demands more. It’s time to make a commitment or say good-bye. Keith goes along at first, and she’s hopeful. But as her birthday gets closer, her relationship with Keith hits snags.

Keith loves Brenda and can’t bear to lose her, but he’s got lots of unresolved baggage and a history of being less than she deserves. Though he’ll try to get over his issues in time to make her birthday special, when a new roadblock arises, he’s out of his depth. Can Keith man up and commit to Brenda in time? Or will their relationship crumble and turn her into one more of his many exes?

FYI, the After Class, the third book in the Teach Him Tonight series, will be coming out later this fall.

4. I see from your back catalogue that you’ve written both m/f and m/m stories and novels. Do you strive to mix it up, or do you simply write them as the inspiration hits you? Have you found that there is additional research that goes into m/m works? If someone were to check out one of your m/m titles, which do you have a big soft spot for, personally?

I’ve always written m/f stories. I did write m/m stories in the past — when I had someone in my life who could help with the research and point out where I got things wrong. I enjoyed getting into the futuristic vampire world that’s in the From the Light collection from Changeling Press — originally inspired by the movie Ladyhawke. The character I had the most fun writing for this series was Retkove, the villain. Someday I might return to this world to give him his own story.


The m/m story that I have the biggest personal soft spot for is Tingle Bells from Ellora’s Cave. This is a fun paranormal Christmas novella that takes place in Princeton, New Jersey. I’m a Jersey girl living in California and love to set stories in the Garden State. I always get a big smile when I reread this story of an inventor and a private eye who are dealing with a very “eccentric” but loving family during the holiday season.

5. You’ve got quite a back catalogue of romances. How long have you been publishing? And what has been the most rewarding aspect of your second career as a romance author?

I actually wrote stories and newspaper articles before I started writing romances. I sold my first romance Hook, Wine & Tinker from the Pantasia series to Ellora’s Cave in 2003, and it was released in January, 2004. There’s so much that’s rewarding about being a romance author. First of all, there’s the fun of creating stories and then finding that people enjoy reading them. It’s a treat to meet and chat with fans. It’s also a treat getting to know other writers and spending time with them at meetings and conferences. I have to admit I get a kick out of people being surprised to discover that I’m a romance writer. Their first question always is, “Are you published?” What a thrill to be able to say, “Yes!”

Twitter account:  twitter.com/mardiballou
Facebook account:  www.facebook.com/MardiBallou
website:  http://www.MardiBallou.com