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Published on February 4th, 2013 | by Wild Gender

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Queer Reads: “Leather Ever After” Kinky Anthology of Retold Tales

Leather Ever After: An Anthology of Kinky Fairy Tales is a collection of eighteen erotic short stories for kinksters who like spicy reading replete with gingerbread, wicked witches and a secret world or two, all bound by Rapunzel’s golden hair. Edited by Sassafras Lowrey with an introduction by Laura Antoniou, the anthology is a terrifically talented offering of pansexual fairy tales from a wide range of authors.

The genre of the re-imagined fairy tale is not new, but in the old stories, we continue to find half-remembered truths, the seeds of myth never quite dead in the soil. But perhaps ‘re-imagining’ is not the right term for what stories like these do. Rather than dressing an old story up in new trappings, we feel as though we have returned to the heart of the myth to bring some new and titillating hidden aspect to the surface, luminous and sensual. Leather Ever After invites comparisons with another series of tales, set down in Emma Donaghue’s Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins– but while Kissing the Witch had an erotic undercurrent, Leather Ever After is an unabashed collection of sexual stories.Leather Ever After

And in these re-imagined fairy tales for our nefarious purposes, gender roles are the first casualties: Leather Ever After is not shy about Princes who are really butches, boy mermaids, or queer huntsmen who forget all about Snow White because they’re too busy screwing the prince on the forest floor. Leather Ever After is a truly pansexual collection.

“Many of us, myself very much included, are drawn to live lives in leather because of the magic we’re able to create, whether it be through a scene or an ongoing power-exchange dynamic,” writes Lowrey in the book’s forward. It is that magic which lends itself so brilliantly to fairy tales, both the new and the re-imagined. While the nexus of magic, myth, eros and kink is more than enough to pique my interest, this book does more than explore that intersection. Rather, it becomes a guided tour to the heart of the mystery of kink: the erotic thrill of mythic evil, the thrall of fear and power, the desire to see the innocent get a few (or a lot of) knocks before they get their reward… and the enjoyment of a very good story.

So, on to my favorite stories in the collection! The first tale, “Each Step for Him,” is an excellent choice to open the book: It places us in what may be for some a familiar context—a modern leather scene—and guides us ever deeper into an expertly crafted erotic fairytale, which becomes more familiar as the story goes on. The second story changes pace, taking us into the past with a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. We spend time with the Beauty as she endures and enjoys her cruel captor-husband and his unusual sexual proclivities, eventually learning to provoke him into giving her the beatings that she secretly craves. Here, the space of imagination that lies between the lines of time-worn stories is mined for its secret eros.

“Blood in the House of Sweets” by Miss Lola Sunshine places the reader in the perspective of the dominant partner for the first time as she anticipates the arrival of her sweet young things, Hansel and Gretel. This particular wicked witch is partial to her enormous cardboard sets, where she stages elaborate scenes in the local dungeon. A hot story of cage and needle play ensues. “The Mistress and the Pea” by Cynthia Hamilton is an excellent offering centered on a powerful young submissive prince seeking the ideal mate, a princess who will own him and punish him. This sexy story reminded me of Anne Rice’s Beauty series, imagining a world of kingdoms where kinky play is the preferred sport of beautiful young princesses and virile queer princes.

A special mention has to go to Raven Kaldera’s “Down Under,” a story in which a good sister is pushed into a well that leads to another world– leading to strange and very pleasurable adventures. I can only say: read it. It may very well be the most deep short story as well as a strange breed of kink to orgasm to.

As writers, we love to reinterpret fairy tales because in doing so, we don’t dress old standards up in new clothing; at least we don’t feel like we do. We feel ourselves instead, delving deeper into the sweet kernel at the center of the tale, the seed of Snow White’s apple on the tongue, tangy and wild.

One story is told from the perspective of the wicked witch herself—you know, the original wicked witch who appears in so many tales. She waxes philosophical: “It’s not really evil when people want it. We all have a role to play. And Cinderella is actually badass and has feet and is perfectly capable of walking away from me, her evil stepmother. And Snow White steals fruit and isn’t really that pretty. And yes, I enjoy it. I do. But so do they. All the ecstasy that comes with a happily ever after has to come with a few red welts to truly feel like the explosion it is.” Leather Ever After, like all fairy tale stories, reminds us that while good and evil battle, they also play strange games.

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About the Author

Wild Gender

is an online magazine and creative hub born out of gratitude for the gift of full expression. We are dedicated to creative practices that celebrate gender fluidity, identity and expression. Wild Gender prioritizes visual art, creative writing, and journalistic work by trans/gender-variant individuals who have never before been published in a public venue. Run entirely by volunteers,we are always in search of writers, thinkers, and creators hoping to participate in our growing community.



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