Today we are celebrating Katherine Wyvern's release of Black Carnival. We are certain that you all are going to love her new book, which has some of the richest and loveliest prose Evernight has to offer!
The city of Venice has been rebuilt on the far planet of Cydonia. Despite the uneasy presence of the mysterious, only part-human Sand Riders who roam the Cydonian deserts, the Black Carnival of NeuVenedig has become a celebration of beauty and lust known all over the Galaxy. Ivory Blake, a young artist from the conservative Central Planets, is thrown in the middle of the festivities to illustrate a new book about the Black Carnival. As a guest of the glamorous art collector Lukan Løvensgård, her professional assignment quickly turns into a highly emotional exploration of sensuality in all its most varied aspects, from BDSM to romantic love, passing through obsession, fear, jealousy and passionate, tender complicity.
He laughed and lifted a hand to caress my chin. He brushed a strand of hair back, tucking it behind my ear, and then he put down his glass, brought both his hands behind my head and undid the lacing of my mask. I didn't say a thing. As the mask was taken from my face, I felt more naked than I had ever felt since coming to NeuVenedig, and yet I felt no uneasiness at all. If anything, I began to unwind and took a deep liberating breath. I smiled at Laz'law and shyly, lightly caressed the tiny scales on his cheekbones, the rougher, thicker scales on his eyebrows, the beautiful strange mask that could never be taken off.
"Lovely," said he and I at the same time, and we laughed.
"So beautiful," we said again absurdly, improbably, in unison.
It was uncanny. It was fantastic.
He grinned widely. I am sure that he had quite some practice at being adored. I was not used to be called beautiful; men in the Central Planets were too correct and formal, or, perhaps, just plain shy, for such wildly romantic statements. I had been called pretty, cute, sweet and even hot, but never beautiful. Obviously, I blushed.
Lune put two fingers around my chin to turn my face to him. He looked at me tenderly and softly kissed my temples, my eyebrows, my cheekbones, all those places that he had never seen before. I closed my eyes, smiling a small beatific smile as I went more or less limp in his arms. I heard them both laughing, but I didn't open my eyes.
Laz'law took the almost empty glass from my hand; I heard him getting up and walk off towards the bar, but by then Lune was kissing my mouth in intense, hot, tongue-and-teeth kisses, and I was quite distracted. I felt Laz'law sitting back on the sofa and lifting my skirt up. He took off my tall, soft suede boots and began caressing my knees, just under the edge of the skirt, then further up, running a flat warm palm along my legs. When his hand reached the naked skin of my thighs I shuddered with pleasure and finally broke the kiss, opening my eyes to look at him.
He smiled at me, and kept caressing me in flat even caresses as if savoring the smoothness of the silk stockings and of my skin. Lune looked at him with a curiously affectionate smile, and then he said to me, "Come here."
He pulled me to sit in his lap, and began kissing me again, running his searching lips on my mouth, my throat, my neck. I sighed, my head thrown back, quite abandoned in his arms, when I felt Laz'law standing up behind me. His warm hands began to massage my naked shoulders, as if to ease my nerves. I didn’t think I needed any easing, but his warm fingers seemed to unravel my back as if it had been knotted. I bent my head forward to invite his hands higher. He obliged; his palms rubbed warmly along my neck, crawled in circles on my skull, loosening my hair, then descended again. He caressed my tightly corseted breasts and sides. Then he lifted my hair out of the way and started kissing the nape of my neck and my spine, between my shoulder blades.
I was melting like chocolate.
I pressed my face in the curve of Lune’s throat, opening my lips to taste his skin. Laz’law kneeled on the carpet behind me, lifted the skirt up around my waist, and went on kissing his way down my back as his hands caressed my legs and then my buttocks. His breath puffed warm through the crisscrossing lacing of my corset, making me shiver in anticipation.
I think I could have gone on like that forever, but after a while Lune sat up and moved further back on the deep sofa.
“Turn,” he whispered, pushing and pulling me around until I turned in his lap and sat facing Laz’law, who smiled, running his hands lightly along the inside of my legs.
I relaxed against Lune’s body, my back on his chest. I parted my legs a bit, feeling wonderfully exposed, slutty and happy. Lune lowered the zipper of my corset and, as my breasts spilled out of their almost painful confinement, I sighed and put my arms up around his neck, turning his face down to mine, silently begging him to kiss me again.
He was more than willing to comply, and kissed me deeply, hotly, his lips covering mine entirely, his tongue lashing down my throat, circling in my mouth, searching and teasing, pinning my head irresistibly against his shoulder. He kissed in fierce, carnivorous kisses, in surprising, delightful contrast with the quiet courtesy of his manner and the sweetness of his smile.
One of his hands had taken hold of my left breast, and he was squeezing my nipple, softly at first and then harder, rolling the tender skin between his strong fingers until it almost hurt. He smoothly pushed his knees between mine, and spread my legs wide with his, opening me to Laz’law’s kisses. My breath was quick and shallow in his mouth.
I could feel Laz'law's rough, scaly, metal studded brows brushing on the skin of my thighs, his warm mouth open on the almost transparent lace of my panties. His tongue was even warmer, and he ran it flatly on the damp lace a few times before untying the two twin bows that tied the panties around my hips. When my sex was naked and open before him, I pushed it upward towards his face, with a tiny pleading moan. When he stooped forward, I began rocking against his rough chin; he laughed softly and started lapping me in brief quick laps, retreating out of my reach after each lap, until I strained and arched my back for more.
"What a hot little thing she is, indeed," he said, and Lune broke the kiss again to nod and laugh.
“Told you,” he said.
They both stared at me, and I suddenly felt somewhat self-conscious at the thought that they had been talking about me, although it was quite natural, I guess. I sat up a bit straighter, closing my legs somewhat. Laz'law smiled up at me, caressing my thighs, murmuring something unintelligible but soothing while kissing my knees apart again, but in that moment I felt Lune's hands gently pushing me off his lap. I stood up and he carefully unbuttoned my skirt, which slid down my hips with a silky rustle.
I kicked it off, and Laz'law, still fully dressed, still on his knees on the carpet, pulled me toward him and pressed his mouth hard on my sex.
That is when the last of my shyness went overboard.
Without further ado, let's get to know this rising star a bit better...
AD: What first drew you to writing? To writing romance?
KW: I always had a tendency to get entangled in strange long distance relationships, and I started to write erotica as a way to keep the fires burning, so to say. Then I happened to post some of my stories on an online forum, and people seemed to like them, so I kept writing. I still think of my writing more as Romantic Erotica than Erotic Romance!
AD: Your native language is not English, correct? Despite that, your prose is some of the lushest and richest I have read. What made you decide to write novels in English?
KW: Oh, wow, blush! I am not sure it was really a conscious decision, it evolved quite naturally. I am Italian, married to a German and living in France. English is the language I speak with my husband; also we tend to buy books and watch movies in English, so it has become my everyday language. That said, I started writing English before I even left Italy; it is simply my favourite language. I fell in love with it as a teen in school, reading Keats and Melville. I love its flexibility, the way nouns or adjectives can be turned into adverbs or almost anything else, so that a myriad of different images can be easily crammed into a small elegant sentence. You could not do that in Italian!
AD: How long did it take you to write Black Carnival?
KW: Black Carnival began as a very short story in 2005, but then it remained untouched until summer 2011. The bulk of it was written in four months.
AD: What first sparked your idea for this book?
KW: I was already writing erotica at the time, and Ivory was already my favourite character and narrator. And I was stitching a costume for the Venice Carnival. I have a certain gothic streak and the costume was all black, so I started writing about that dress and things grew from there. The Sand Riders were added on a whim, borrowing a scaly-faced rider from a very different, much older story I wrote in the mid nineties. I am really a hopeless pantser and none of this was planned. The details of this particular world came together in the writing, although it all fits into a larger imaginary universe where I spent way too much time since childhood.
AD: What can you tell us about Cydonia? About your heroine? What about the hero?
KW: Cydonia is a desert planet so hot (no pun intended) that the only inhabitable continent is in the northern polar region. This means that night and day are season-long, and the environment somewhat extreme. An artificial, genetically engineered breed of rangers and scouts, the Sand Riders, inhabits most of this desert continent, while most human settlers are concentrated in the capital, NeuVenedig, and its immediate surroundings. The heroine, Ivory, from the Earth-like central planet NA, is a bit of a life-long alter ego of mine; she blushes as badly as I do and has a talent for complicated love entanglements. But she is more beautiful and a better artist than I am! The hero, Lune, is a Sand Rider. When not busy in dissipated Carnival celebrations, he is an explorer and a naturalist. He has this tendency to be abstract and silent which some people may easily mistake for coldness, but it’s just because of the many years he has spent alone in the desert. Half of the time he is quietly composing love poems in his head, mostly, until now, for his male lover, Laz’law.
AD: Do you have any other adventures in Cydonia planned for us? What about other stories not related to your Cydonian universe?
KW: Oh yes. I am writing both a sequel and a prequel to Black Carnival, which means I am spending more time on Cydonia than on Earth and that my sense of time is a bit warped right now. I have ideas for other stories too (Evernight’s Naughty Fairy Tale series has sparked some of those) but I am a slow writer and try to concentrate on a few projects at a time, else I risk to leave things unfinished!
AD: What authors and/or stories have influenced you as a writer?
KW: Much of my use of imagery owes something to poets I love, from Keats to Neruda, and also to a favourite novelist, Antonia S Byatt. More specifically to the genre, I wanted to write something with the wicked bdsm streak of Anne Rice-Roquelaure's Sleeping Beauty trilogy or even of some of Anais Nin's tales, but in a more emotional and romantic key. Lauren P. Burka was definitely a very important influence, helping to bring all these elements together.
AD: What type of book do you read most often? What are you reading right now?
KW: I read mostly fantasy and historical fiction (I am totally addicted to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series). I reread The Lord of the Rings about once a year, and I like getting stuff for free at Gutenberg Project on my Kindle, which means I am also reading lots of classics, Kipling, Dickens, Austen, Conrad... At the moment however I am reading Bound to be Free, by Charles Moser and JJ Madeson, which I picked up as inspiration for a story.
AD: Describe a typical writing session for us.
KW: Most often it starts with me tossing and turning in bed at 3 am with some tormenting, pesky idea that won’t let me sleep. However, I usually don’t write at night, so I will need to listen to music for an hour or so in the morning until the idea comes back, and then start typing. I try to do most of the editing as I go, so when not inspired to write I will just go through the MS and fix some of the appalling mistakes I made the day before.
AD: Is there anything you have to have to write?
KW: Because of my rather strange lifestyle I became pretty good at writing more or less anywhere and with very few comforts. Often my office only consists of a camp-chair and a large umbrella. But I do need a cup of black tea to get started, a stack of, ahem, inspiring pictures and, most important, to be alone.
AD: You live a rather unusual life, correct? Please tell us a bit about it.
KW: I was born and raised in a city, and lived in town until the age of 31, then decided that I needed some air, dropped everything, bought a horse and a tent and hit the road. Between 2009 and 2011 I travelled 5000 km on foot with my husband, horse and various assorted pets, camping wherever we happened to be at the end of a walking day. We are now spending a year in a small village in South West France, still living in our tipi, earning our life with street music and gardening jobs, and with no other transport than our boots and horse. Many think it is a rough lifestyle, especially in winter, but it offers the invaluable luxury of time, in my case time to be creative, which is the most important thing to me.
AD: Thanks so much for coming by our blog today, Katherine!
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