Friday, May 1, 2020

May E-Book Sale: Arabesque

New month, new e-book sale. This time it's Arabesque, my take on the Snow White folktale with a bunch of other stories woven throughout (for a reason, of course). It's historical fantasy primarily set sometime in the 18th century (hence all the references to powdered wigs as well as the French Revolution when the despotic king is overthrown) and somewhere in Germany.

And here's the blurb:

An ambitious young princess, Ulrike, turns to the dark arts in order to become queen despite her younger sister's warnings of a fatal consequence to mortgaging her soul. She succeeds, yet Ulrike finds herself trapped in a hateful marriage, her mind slowly being devoured by her powers, while conceiving and giving birth to a boy.

Alarick -- "the bastard prince" -- becomes the court's favorite object of mockery because of the scandal of his conception, his mother's spiraling madness compounding his ordeal. When Alarick falls in love with a childhood friend, Roald von Thiessen, the added sin of an unnatural romance gets caught up in a tumultuous aristocratic environment that's rife with hypocrisy, cruelty, betrayal, and murder.

Forcibly separated from each other during a bloody uprising, Roald and Alarick become helplessly ensnared in nightmarish adventures designed to twist their characters and destroy their minds in the process. The young lovers fight for their souls and a way back to each other in a world weighed down by the forces of dark and light magic, and gods grapple with each other over mortal destinies.

Arabesque is more than a gothic, homoerotic retelling of the Snow White folktale. It is also a dark allegory exploring contemporary issues such as misogyny, homophobia, and gay conversion therapy.

This book is an odd duck if you're used to my usual writing style. It's third person omniscient POV, which means an all-seeing narrator that's pretty common in fairy tales (and many novels throughout history, including contemporary fiction). It also takes on a pretty dry and mildly detached tone, and in some scenes, the narrator even sounds a touch snarky.

When I wrote this book some years ago, I'd just read Robert Coover's surreal and dream-like Briar Rose, and I was totally blown away by his approach to the Sleeping Beauty folktale. I loved the book. And I was still riding the wave when I took on the Snow White story, so in the end, the writing style deviates quite a bit from what I normally use.

That said, whatever you get from me from the moment I went full-on indie is the kind of writing I'm very, very comfortable with. So anyway, Arabesque is available from different online stores, and the book page is over here. From May 1 through May 31, the e-book is priced at 99 cents. Pretty cool!

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