Enough from me; let's hear from the word-painter herself!
Hello, Adonis & Adonette, and thank you for offering me a spot in the sunlight for my latest release, The Garden of Thousand Nightingales, which is my favourite piece of writing ever. (AD: I can see why you feel this way. It is incredibly vivid, poetic, and beautiful!) This is a very tender fairytale-like love story set in a fantasy world loosely based on Elizabethan England, and it sports some fabulous illustrations by my favourite Photoshop artist, flondo.
I have always been very fond of the fairytale genre. One of my earliest memories as a child is the large blue and gold books of fairytales that circulated in the house, which provided me countless hours of entranced reading. I especially loved the Norwegian and Irish tales, which were often darker and more mysterious than their more familiar Charles Perrault counterparts. More recently I have been enchanted again and again by the beautiful, intricate fairytales interwoven in several of A. S. Byatt's books, and now I find that the "fairytale" voice is the one that comes more natural to me.
I wanted to write a "smutty" fairy-tale, and making the theme and the style work together was a very interesting challenge, which produced something, to me, magical. I hope the magic works for you as well!
***************Tell us what it's about...
In the whispering wilderness of the Sandoval forest, Dusk, an elusive wood-elf, is intent on preserving the fragile life of her hidden trees from the ravages of men, but once her natural green magic finds its match in the powerful wizardry of Juan Francisco Deva de la Torre Espinosa, Royal Astrologer and right hand of the Queen, her whole life changes course.
When their sensuous, starlit romance in the forest turns into a frightful quest in the bleak heart of the city, only the power of her wizard can save dusk from the cruelty of men, and make a place where their love may blossom.
Give us a taste...
Elves do not quite understand the age of men, nor do they care much about it, and to her he appeared neither very young nor very old; he was like a clear, mild autumn morning, with not a hint of winter’s icy cold yet, as vibrant as spring, but more mellow, sumptuous already with all the fruits of a long summer.
His short, sharp beard was frosty silver-white, almost blue in the moonlight, and there were many crossing lines on his face, some fine, some deep. His skin told the story of his temper and of his seasons, especially around his eyes, which were like pools of still water in July, warm and unfathomable. They might have been brown or green. Even an elf could not say in the moonlight. They were thoughtful with the wisdom of many years, and kind, lit with the twinkle of his half smile, which was ironic, even a bit cynical, but also, strangely, a little sad.
It could well be that only an elf’s eyes could see the warmth of that half smile, hidden as it was under all the layers of his different moods, but elven eyes see in a different way from ours. Neither farther nor better, mind, but—different.
As for him, he saw that even in the moonlight her eyes, her true eyes, shone pale green. Not the chilly sea green of the aquamarine, but the vivid gold-green of the peridot, the evening emerald. They were larger than human eyes would be, so that her face seemed even slimmer and smaller, and they flashed weirdly in the dark, like the eyes of a cat. There was something feline about her whole face, about all of her, in fact, which he did not mind, because he was fonder of cats than he was of most people.
And like a cat that will approach very slowly, every hesitating step taking an age, once close to him, she lost all shyness, and pressed herself to his chest in a full body embrace, not to kiss him, but to sniff at him.
With her arms around his neck and her eyes closed, she explored the scent of his skin, which was different from any scent in the woods. He smelled of tobacco and wood-fire, of lavender and cinnamon and old books, but she did not know these things. After the long day’s ride he also smelled of horse, which made him unhappy, but she liked very much.
She smiled, enraptured, her lips pressed in the soft skin under his earlobe in the first trembling kiss she gave him.
She shuddered all over like an autumn leaf when he dragged his fingernails gently along the thigh she had hooked around his hip, and without a word he pushed her off very slightly, to kiss her closed eyes. His lips were warm and smooth on her eyelids, while his moustache tickled her eyebrows, as light as the touch of a butterfly wing. Elves do not grow whiskers, and this was quite new and wondrous to her. Since the very first moment, she loved his beard, the strange rough softness of it, and she rubbed her face against his chin, again like a cat, just to revel in its texture and its mystery.
She smiled again, because his fingertips awoke trails of tinkling pleasure on her bare skin, because everything about him was like a sensuous new world she had never stepped in before, and because she felt weirdly at home in his strangeness. Magic teemed about him like bees around acacia trees in spring, and although his magic was so unlike her own, it was like a different variation of the same ancient tune, and their bodies hummed it together in a whispering, wordless duet that only they could hear.
For a long moment, when the elf-girl threw her arms around him and kissed him, De la Torre was too astonished to do anything else than return her fervid embrace as best he could. He had courtly notions about how a well-bred gentleman should behave, and it would have been quite difficult for him to do anything else. Refusing her would have been an ill-mannered slight. But as her slim, smooth body pressed hungrily against him, and she caressed his beard and moustache so lovingly, and kissed him so lustily, he forgot all about the guards that still waited for him back in the grassy clearings, and the urgent business that had brought him on the road in the first place.
If forests were always so welcoming, he thought to himself, cupping the back of her head in his palm, kissing her brows and her cheekbones, I would grow fond of them in no time at all.
Katherine Wyvern on Goodreads
The Garden of a Thousand Nightingales on Smashwords
The Garden of a Thousand Nightingales on Amazon