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Friday, 7 June 2013

Guest Post with Ava Zavora, author of Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic

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At the Other End:
Enter a world of dark beauty…

This collection of enchanting and disturbing stories ranging from fantasy to speculative fiction will leave you spellbound!

Transfigured - The Beast has changed back to a handsome prince, yet Beauty finds out that although some curses may be broken, they are never completely destroyed. 

No Loyal Knight and True – In this modern-day retelling of Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott, a boyhood encounter with an odd girl who lives in a tower alters the course of Ryan’s destiny. 

Belle Noir – Young Jane flees from her abusive father into a seemingly perfect marriage only to find that the darkest hearts are never revealed until it is too late. 

Grotesque - A woman hardened by a difficult past witnesses a horrifying tragedy and undergoes a magical transformation.

Mirabilis (A Novella) - Rosaria's life changes the day the veiled and mysterious Lord Devlin hires her to cure him of a terrible curse. 

***Some stories contain mature subject matter. 18+***


Shhh... Don't Tell:


Perhaps I was caught in the trickery and distraction of a spell undone. The spring that finally came after a hundred cold and barren winters, the gleaming castle with proud flags unfurling in the blue sky where crumbling stones used to be, the armies of servants now at our command, sound and clamor filling up the years of silence, and you, shining in the sun, alive, transformed, so different from the other. Shocked with the noise and bright light of the glamour after, perhaps I did not notice, as I should have, just exactly how different you were. 

We live in that gleaming castle on a hill, a handsome prince wedded to his princess, each in perfect symmetry to the other, and we are envied for our life, which will be set in a story told for ages to come. But what will not be told is the price that needs to be paid, the lingering affliction of a broken curse. 

Day after day I wonder, “What have I done?”

Countless courtiers and nobles in countless balls, the minstrels and the poets that pay tribute, all say the same, that I am the most beautiful woman they have ever beheld. Each time this declaration is made, your face is the one I seek. I meet only an inscrutable expression. It is there every time I catch your eye, which grows less and less frequent. The last time you have ever truly looked at me was the last time I held you in my arms, the last time any honesty had ever passed between us.

I watch you, do you know that? I search your face in vain for any trace of the other. I watch you and take note of the what moves you, the breathtaking sunset that awed you, the red rose whose rich scent you feasted upon, the books you read avidly, and I note, too, how you turn from me when I approach you by the window, not even a perfunctory comment when I dress my hair in roses, shutting the covers and saying it was nothing of interest when I inquire what you read. Even an absentminded pat on the head that you would give to a faithful dog, you do not bestow upon me. 

I remain the rose underneath my father’s glass, perfect and untouched. 


Buy Me!



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Ava ZavoraAuthor Bio...
In my childhood, I used to ride water buffaloes and wade in swamps. When I discovered books, I would go adventuring with Anne of Green Gables, the Pevensies, Bilbo Baggins, or Alanna of Trebond. I incurred my mother's displeasure for reading too many romance novels, so I learned to hide them and read underneath covers with a flashlight late at night. Nowadays, I travel and write dark fairy tales and romantic novels about adventurous women. And I still stay up too late reading, even though I don't get in trouble for it anymore. 


Handy Hinty Links:
Goodreads:                     Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic                             Ava Zavora
              Website                                Facebook                                Twitter



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The Lady of Shalott



If you were to time-travel back to my 16-year-old bedroom - first of all, disregard the pile of dirty clothes in the middle of the floor and whatever you do, don't open the closet - on my wall would be the most famous John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott, below. I don't know who I became aware of first, Waterhouse’s painting or Tennyson’s poem; they are forever inextricably intertwined in my memories. In one of my favorite childhood books, Anne of Green Gables, Anne decides to enact the poem while on a boat, with unexpected results.

  

 It always bugged me that the Lady, you know, just died, for a guy who didn't even know she existed until after she was dead. I decided to come to her rescue and give her a happy ending and a name. At the same time I came to this decision I read an essay on the folkroots of Rapunzel, as well as one on the Lady of Shalott called the Embowered Woman. Maidens trapped in towers, the male hero as a threat/danger, curses linked to female sexuality? Coincidence? I decided not and out unraveled one of the stories in Belle Noir: “No Loyal Knight and True.” Of course I listened to Loreena McKennitt's song of Tennyson's poetry while writing this story - no lovelier marriage of lyric to music exists.


~ Ava




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