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And they lived happily ever after – WITH A TWIST

After noting the abundance of heteronormative fairy tales, Jeffrey Miles, who wanted – and ended up – doing something about it. He ended up creating “The Princes and The Treasure”, a 28-page, fully illustrated, children’s picture book that has a same-sex romance, and a same-sex marriage. It features the artwork of J.L. Phillips, who created the illustrations.

At the end of their respective fairy tales:

Cinderella married Prince Charming.
Snow White married Prince Charming (not the same prince as Cinderella’s, of course).
Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) married Prince Philip.
Belle (Beauty and the Beast) married Prince Adam.
Odette (The Swan Princess) married Prince Derek.

That these fairy tales foster heteronormativity (i.e. that a boy will grow up and marry a girl, and vice versa) goes without saying.

Prince and PrinceAnd this was not lost on business management professor Jeffrey Miles, who wanted – and ended up – doing something about it.

“About two years ago, I was at a major amusement park watching adult prince and adult princess couples singing and dancing. I remembered reading fairy tale stories when I was a young boy about princes and princesses. I knew all of their stories. I knew how they met, how they fell in love, and how they lived happily ever after. As I stared at the adult actors singing and dancing, I wondered, why aren’t there any gay princes or lesbian princesses? Why can’t the handsome prince marry another handsome prince? Why can’t a damsel in distress be rescued by a beautiful princess?” Miles said.

And so, “when I got home from the trip, I created my own adventure story where two adult princes go on an adventure, fall in love, and get married.”

This creation is “The Princes and The Treasure”, a 28-page, fully illustrated, children’s picture book that has a same-sex romance, and a same-sex marriage.

“I wrote the book for anyone who wants to read about two men who go on an adventure, fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after,” Miles said.

The fairy tale is somewhat akin to what everyone is used to listening while growing up.

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In the magical kingdom of Evergreen, one beautiful princess – named Elena – is suddenly whisked away by an old woman. Undefeated champion Gallant and shy bookworm Earnest go on a quest to find “the greatest treasure in the land” so one of them can save and marry the princess. Along the way, Earnest and Gallant realize that “the greatest treasure in the land” is not what they expected.

And because “I wanted the book to have a timeless quality to it”, Miles went with a “rich, colorful fairy tale style” that made use of the artwork of J.L. Phillips, who created the illustrations.

“Creating ‘The Princes and The Treasure’ children’s book has been incredibly fun,” Miles said. But there were pressures in two areas. “First, I had to write a great story. I couldn’t just write a story about two gay princes and a lesbian princess. The story had to be compelling and interesting in its own right. It took some time and imagination to create an adventure story for Earnest, Gallant, and Princess Elena.”

Miles added: “The most difficult part was the requirements for writing a children’s book. The story had to be short and simple enough for parents to read to their children at bedtime. This meant that the book could only be about 28 pages and about 1,000 simple words. It was challenging to tell Earnest and Gallant’s adventure story in that way. But I’m pleased to say that parents have emailed me that the book is the perfect length to read to children as a bedtime story. Parents have also told me that the book is simple enough for young children to read on their own.”

Miles admitted that the children’s picture book market is “really crazy and competitive right now. I’m a business management professor, so you’d think that the book market would have been first and foremost on my mind. But for once, I didn’t think about business at all when I wrote this book. I was inspired to write a great story with beautiful illustrations for adults and children to enjoy. I never once thought about the financial aspects of publishing a book. I guess the adage is true that if you do what you love and believe in it, then the rest will take care of itself. That was certainly the case for this book.”

The feedback from parents has been wonderful, Miles said. “Parents say they did not have a good way to talk about same-sex marriages with their children, and this book has been a great way to talk about it. I specifically wrote the story to be romantic and not sexual. The feedback from children has been overwhelmingly positive, too. I can’t tell you how many kids (and adults) have told me the story is now one of their favorites.”

Miles added: “One parent said to me, ‘I now read this book to my children among all of their other fairy tales, and they do not make a distinction. It is normal to them.’ If every parent did the same, then the next generation of children would be well-educated on diversity, and homophobia might possibly become extinct.”

Love is love

“The Princes and The Treasure” is available in 137 countries; and is available from all major e-book retailers, such as: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google Play Books, Apple iBooks, and KoboBooks. The hardcover version of the book is available from most every retailer, such as: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackwell’s, Foyles, and WHSmith. Or head to Amazon.com to buy the book.

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