Non isperate mai veder lo cielo:
i’ vegno per menarvi a l’altra riva
ne le tenebre etterne, in caldo e ’n gelo.
Hope nevermore to look upon the heavens;
I come to lead you to the other shore,
To the eternal shades in heat and frost.
But for all the "abandon all hope" of it, this book continues my tradition of writing dark fantasy that's really just an excuse for an inordinate amount of mutual pining, forced proximity, and happily ever afters. Three romance tropes dressed in a cassock if you will.
TADS also features friends to enemies to lovers, a girl who steals the sky, lightly veiled Catholic angst, and the biggest game of The Floor is Lava ever. A STEM girl and a painter boy. Monster makeovers (it's that thing where you make someone look worse/like a monster). What I've been told by professionals is a more lyrical prose style. Sadly no cats, but there are some sheep. And a nonna ready with her wooden spoon if you're acting foolish.
Like I said, I drew from the stories I heard growing up, of the earthquakes and wolves that made my family in Molise say, hmm maybe we should give a different continent a try, as well as Greek myth, Milton, Keats, the life of Dante, and probably a few Disney movies. And possibly The Paper Bag Princess got in there somewhere, too. A lot of me is in the book, of course. There's on the page fat rep, a demi hero, two autistics in love, bis, and sword lesbians. The exploration of autistic masking (not the very good public health kind) and unmasking while isolated in hell was made all the more intense by writing this through the ongoing pandemic lockdown, as my sensory and processing issues have become dramatically more marked, and I'm not sure, like a certain cinnamon roll monster, how much I really want to rejoin society.
Here, have a playlist! I live in my headphones and have been listening to this (okay actually a much, much longer version) over and over the last several months. A friend sent me one song because it reminded her of TADS and I proceeded to listen to it sixty times in a row.
Have some memes that will only make sense if you've read for me, but maybe will give you a taste of the book?
|not a meme, just my family nailing my brand during a discussion of Abruzzi e Molise|
Have an aesthetic!
And finally, have an opening snippet, why not (I unrepentantly love prologues and haven’t revised this one out quite yet):
They chained her to the rock. Left her on the craggy island cliffside to feed a monster’s hunger. Her sacrifice would purchase paradise for the rest of her world.
Saltwater kissed her cheeks, whether from the sea spray erupting along the jagged dark coast or tears shed, only the gods could say. The air was all salt and spindrift. As if the world wept for the loss of her.
But it would not save her.
It would not unlock the chains that clanked as she began to shake. It would not bar the three beasts sent up the volcanic vents to fetch her down to hell—the shimmering dark leopard, the burning red lion, the coarse-coated wolf. The chains would break only under their powerful jaws. She would never again go in the ship that brought her here, through the treacherous sea. The men had already turned for home, kept safe another cycle by her offering. Without it, this place and its master would rain ash and evil over all, send tides of monsters against their shores.
The chains clattered now, like great teeth gnashing. Not the girl but the rock itself quaked.
The monster must be fed.
Thanks for reading and joining me in hell for a while. With the current state of reality it makes for a nice escape.