Katalina Leon : Thank you Niina, I love being part of For The Love of Reading.
Niina : And I love to have you around! Let’s get started! Can you tell my readers here 4 fun unknown facts about you so we can break the ice?
Katalina Leon : I’m going to willfully feed your readers some facts about me that helped inspire “Fairy In The Flesh”.
First: I’m a painter. I have murals, paintings in hundreds of homes and private collections.
Second. I’m married to a very talented artist illustrator whose first job out of college was with Disney in the matte painting and special effects department.
Third: I’m obsessed with time travel. My imagination can slide along the historic timeline pretty easily.
Fourth: Years ago I taught middle school level art and art history and I loved introducing the students to broader prospective of how art can shape a culture and even reveal hints about where that culture is headed.
Niina : So tell us little about your newest book Fairy In The Flesh - what’s it about? ( Oh and readers, don't miss the First Chapter at the end of this post! :D )
Katalina : My latest book is a very romantic time-travel fantasy that takes place in Avignon France in the present and in 1903. “Fairy In The Flesh” asks the question—what if your soul mate was born a century before you?
Niina : What chapter did you most enjoyed writing and why?
Katalina : Is it awful to say I loved writing every chapter. “Fairy In The Flesh” is a very personal book because this is basically me exposing my favorite “What if?” fantasy to the world. I do love chapter two where Maya gets tossed back to 1903 and finds herself naked in André’s bed. That first meeting where Mays’s fantasies materialize and she’s confronted with the real flesh and blood man was a joy to write.
Katalina : I love writing my heroine and heroes equally. The women are often easier to write, but I absolutely love writing the male POV as well. Having said that there’s a secondary character named “Miss Ruby” who’s a type of enchantress who calls herself a “Time-twister”. Miss Ruby is eccentric, unpredictable and she really surprised me when her character spoke up inside my head and told me what sort of mischief she wanted to commit.
Niina : I love a male POV especially when it's a love scene! :D Now to more personal questions! Who is your current alpha hero crush?
Katalina : My own alpha hero or someone else’s? I’m always crushing on James Bond 007 or Tarzan that’s an ongoing condition. Of my own heroes I’m still very sweet on André Bosco from Fairy In The Flesh. He’s passionate, generous and so loving.
Katalina : I love to cook. We work out of the house and eat most meals homemade. Several weeks ago I went to my friend’s house for dinner. She served delicious Greek food. One easy thing that everyone loved was whole-grain pita-pockets cut into wedges, brushed with olive oil and minced garlic and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. Toast them on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, but don’t overcook and they’ll come out warm and little chewy. The kids grabbed them all and adults had to go begging.
Niina : Sounds so yummy! I'd grab some. :D Now, which Disney Prince would you pick if you had to choose?
Katalina : I like dark hair and a more down to earth man so I’d have to chose Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.
Niina : If your book were made into a movie who would you cast as the leads?
Katalina : Maya Rousseau is a redhead so Christina Hendricks or Amy Adams came to mind. André would have to be some intense dark haired, green-eyed foreign actor we've never heard of yet, but could instantly fall in love with.
Niina : Before we finish, here are some...
Quick Fire Questions!
Trees or Shops? Trees. I love to walk and I have a park in my backyard. Besides I like shopping on-line.
Football or Nascar? Neither. Formula One all the way.
Niina : Go Kimi, aka Iceman! ;D
Boots or Sexy heels? Boots, boots and more boots! I love everything from hiking boots to thigh high BDSM beauties with killer heels
Shots or Wine? I drank small amounts of Absinthe while writing Fairy In The Flesh. It was the professional thing to do and I was hoping for a visit from La Fée Verte
Movie: Popcorn or Hard candy? Buttery, salty popcorn please!
Date: Going on a picnic or Going to a winery? Why choose? Would you consider a picnic in a winery?
Scarier: Ghosts or Demons? Demons for sure. A ghost might be an innocent lost soul—a demon..?
Men: Alpha-male or Sexy nerds? Alpha-male please
Men: Bad boys or Good guys? Bad boys who are really good guys below the surface
Dresses or pant suits? It depends on who needs to be impressed or intimidated
Men in the bedroom: Dominating or Gentle? Gently Domineering
Sexier: Man who can sing or man who can cook? There’s a huge personality difference between these two types of sexy. I think I’ll dream about the singer but live with the cook.
Romance: Knights or Kings? Knight, I love a man of action
Romance: Fallen Angels or Sexy Demons? Fallen angel who needs to get back up
Romance: Doctors or Cowboys? Let’s see both men are dirty, exhausted and seldom around… I pick neither
Niina : LOL! Nice detour, Miss... ;)
Romance: Shifters or Vampires? I refuse to be forced into a choice! I love and write both.
Sexier: Kisses or Licks? When, where and by whom?
Sexier : A guy holding your hand or touching your hair? Hair stroking and touching is definitely hot, especially during a kiss if his hands tangle in your hair and pull you close.
Sexier : Flimsy lingerie or Trench-coat only? Of course I have to choose flimsy lingerie that breaks the bank and the man really doesn’t notice anyway.
Romance or Erotic Romance? In my mind there is no ”Erotic” without the underpinnings of romance
Niina : Thanks for visiting the For The Love of Reading, Katalina! Any news would you like to share with your readers, or websites they can check out?
Katalina : Yes, please come and visit my gorgeous new website at: katalinaleon.com
Also I have new book coming soon “Loup-Garou For You” is a paranormal, time-travel, wolf-shifter romance available September 27th from Ellora’s Cave. This is book 2 in the Voodoo Bayou series and I promise you it’s hotter than Louisiana red-pepper sauce! Here’s the blurb:
"Bayou Country, 1834. Aubert Marston awakens on the eve of his twenty-seventh birthday to discover he’s undergone some disturbing physical changes. His body is bigger, stronger and hairier than it’s ever been, and burns with the lust of a beast. To make matters worse, a hundred guests are about to arrive for the plantation’s annual ball.
A mysterious young woman named Corrine appears in his home, temping Aubert to unleash the inner lycan, and family secrets from a medieval past surface. Corrine lures Aubert to a bayou camp of Cajun Loup-Garous—werewolves, But Aubert’s wealth and good looks are no advantage here. He must surrender to his feral nature and fight tooth and claw against another male pack member to claim Corrine as his own."
Inside Scoop: This story contains mild bondage, southern hospitality, consensual sexual torment, f/f, m/m, anal play, cage fighting and unfettered animal lust. Enjoy!
A Romantica® historical paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tired or not, she felt alive. This was what her soul had been starved for. Since morning she’d wandered Avignon’s street exhibits, tented galleries and somber museums filled with masterpieces, gazing in awe. She’d enjoyed an outdoor concert on the bank of the Rhône and photographed the sunbaked Romanesque ruins of a medieval bridge, where she had stopped just long enough to eat a light lunch. She loved photography and Avignon was the perfect place to indulge a hobby she wanted to take further. When she got home she intended to look back and feel as inspired to revive her art career as she felt at that moment.
The daytrip to Avignon would have been perfect excerpt for one important omission. She’d failed to locate the art studio of her favorite modernist painter, the mysterious André Bosco. It was a shame, because Bosco was the real reason she’d been attracted to Avignon in the first place. She’d been a fan of the obscure painter for years and had hoped to see the place where he had launched his brief but brilliant career, which had inexplicably ended in 1903.
What she’d expected would be a simple task had turned into a bust. To her disappointment she’d seen no plaques displayed anywhere mentioning Bosco, and no one seemed to know much about him. Even the guidebook had been vague, mentioning a single abandoned building as a possible site of Bosco’s studio. A daylong search had proven fruitless and ended in frustration. Within the next hour she’d have to leave Avignon without touching base with one of the great inspirations in her life. Considering Bosco was a local artist of merit, it surprised her that he was so little celebrated in Avignon.
Maya turned the corner and headed into one of the older parts of town. The buildings were quaint. A few were in need of repair. The shadows stretched longer and the narrow streets bustled with foot traffic. The evening festivities had already started and she realized it was time to leave.
A few yards in front of her, a team of young male dancers burst onto the crowded sidewalk and claimed a small circle of smooth pavement as their stage. A heartbeat later they were dancing a wild routine that had them spinning and kicking in unison like the blades of a blender.
Maya dodged past the acrobatic dancers but got trapped in the crowd that had gathered to watch. She recoiled at the last second from one dancer’s lethal backflips and high kicks, which were executed an arm’s length from her nose. She pushed past the dancers but the crowd closed in and she got sandwiched between the exuberant performance and a gritty sandstone wall.
This sort of thing had been happening all day. The official festival d’Avignon had something interesting planned for every hour of the day but all over the city spontaneous off-festival performances took place anywhere a crowd gathered.
The dancing was fun but she was thirsty, tired and just wanted to sit.
“Excusez-moi.” Maya crept along the wall, managing to push through the throng of observers. She reached the doorway of an interesting looking bistro, tugged the door open and darted inside.
Once inside she entered a soothing candle-lit Victorian-era building and found herself in a charming Bohemian-themed bistro with cranberry-red velvet cushions on the seats and colorful curtains of glass beads dangling from the windows. Glowing hand-blown glass lanterns sat upon polished tabletops. A framed Gauguin print of an ebony-eyed Tahitian beauty holding a bowl of pink flowers hung near the bar. The pungent scent of amber incense and cherry pipe tobacco perfumed the air.
It was like stepping back in time to another era. Maya’s senses were instantly transported back to the heady days of the modernist art movement at the beginning of the twentieth century. She savored the feeling because it was her favorite fantasy time period, and one she would have loved to experience firsthand.
It surprised her that for such a busy festival day the bistro was empty of patrons. The only other occupant of the bistro, and presumably the proprietress, was a woman who appeared to be in her fifties who was dressed in the theatrical garb of a flowing- sleeved poet’s shirt, a black satin corset and flouncy red skirt and tall boots. She stood beside the bar looking like some sort of piratical gypsy queen.
“Bonsoir.” The lady spoke French but addressed Maya with a familiar accent.
Maya smiled at the lady. “Puis-je commander un café glacé, s'il vous plaît?”
“Of course you can have an iced coffee.” The woman’s keen gaze locked on Maya. A thick layer of black kohl ringed the lady’s eyes and lent her an unsettling appearance. “I speak English and I’m going to guess that you grew up not far from my hometown of New Orleans.”
“I’m from Thibodaux!” Maya laughed. “There’s no hiding the accent, is there?”
The lady reached for a coffee press and packed it with fresh grounds. “Seeing as how you’re a Louisiana girl I’ll add a touch of chicory to your coffee.”
“Thank you.” Maya sat at the bar, fully realizing just how much her feet hurt from walking all day on cobblestones.
“My name’s Miss Ruby.” The lady brushed her long black hair away from her face and appeared to be studying Maya with intense interest. “What’s yours?”
Miss Ruby poured hot water over the coffee grounds and pushed down on the press. “Rousseau is a wonderful name for an art lover.”
“You sound certain I’m an art lover.”
“Why else would you be in Avignon in July? I know what drew you.” Miss Ruby toyed with one of her dangling chandelier earrings while she waited for the coffee to strengthen. “I realize my current costume makes me look ridiculous as I say this, but I really do possess the gift of second sight and prophecy. You see, I’m a world-class enchantress with the highest security clearance.”
A nervous laugh burst past Maya’s lips. “I didn't realize enchantresses had to earn security clearances.”
“They certainly do!” Miss Ruby’s eyes flashed. “You wouldn't believe the stringent tests we must pass. A world-class enchantress must prove beyond a shadow of doubt that she is trustworthy, ethical and has the highest good of others in mind before she’ll be granted the powers I have.”
Maya wondered if Miss Ruby was another bit of festival street theater or an ex-pat who’d forgotten to take her medication. “What special powers do you possess?”
“I’m like a fairy godmother, but my work tends to be grittier than what a fairy godmother might attempt. The moment I meet someone I know exactly what their soul needs. I understand the inner workings of time and space and use them to advantage. I don’t actually break the laws of nature but I know how to bend them. In fact my specialty is time-twisting. I’m like a witch but I call myself a ‘Beneficent’ because I always serve the highest good. The gift is hereditary. My mama was a New Orleans Voodoo queen. I could have stayed in New Orleans too, but I chose to travel the world as a high-level enchantress and an ambassador of magic.”
“I see.” Maya recoiled. It was just more of her bad luck in Avignon. First she’d failed to locate Bosco’s studio and now a crazy lady dressed like a carnival psychic had trapped her in a weird conversation.
Miss Ruby poured the steaming coffee over a tumbler filled with ice and slid the glass toward Maya. “Enjoy.”
Maya sipped the chilled, chicory-laced coffee with relish. “I feel revived.” She drank fast, not wanting to linger in the deserted bistro. She decided it best to gulp the iced coffee, pay and run for her life before the conversation got stranger.
Miss Ruby picked up a chamois and busied herself polishing the brass rail that ran the length of the elegant mahogany bar.
Maya’s gaze wandered toward the far wall and fixated on a framed pencil sketch of a handsome man with a proud, compelling face. The sketch was framed beneath glass and the paper had yellowed at the corners and crumbled with age. She studied the man’s face and guessed he was in his mid-thirties. He had a thick head of wavy dark hair and a rugged face with square, noble features, chevron brows and luminous eyes that glanced sideways from the portrait and seemed to follow the viewer around the room.
Maya found herself unable to look away. The man had a magnetic quality she seldom saw in contemporary faces. It was a look that could only belong to someone who possessed the self-confidence and perhaps a touch of arrogance not to care what the world thought. The generous arch of the man’s lips was so sensuous her thoughts wandered toward what it must have felt like to be kissed by him.
“You like Bosco, don’t you?” Miss Ruby leaned close. “He has a interesting face, doesn’t he? He can appear both compassionate and feral in turn. I’ve heard many differing opinions about the portrait over the years.”
Maya started. “Is that a portrait of André Bosco, the Fauvist painter?” she gasped. “I’m a great admirer of Bosco! I had no idea a portrait existed.” Her heart fluttered. “Did he really look like that?”
“You know of Bosco?” Miss Ruby looked elated. “So few do. History has all but overlooked him, which is a shame because those familiar with his small body of work have hailed him as one of the most innovative painters of his time. Some say Bosco inspired his more famous peers and set the example for the Fauvist moment by showing the world how to paint like a wild beast. Of course, a few of his nastiest critics called him a ‘paint waster’, but it’s clear Bosco had vision.”
Miss Ruby waved her hands through the air in an expansive gesture. “A few art historians have credited Bosco with being the original wild beast, in part because of his physical intensity and unruly head of hair, but also because he had a habit of tossing his paintbrushes aside and smearing the brightest colors across the canvas with his fingertips, with passion. It was said by those who watched him work that he ravished his canvases like a ferocious lover.” She giggled.
“He sounds exciting.” Maya drew a sharp breath. “Years ago, I saw an original Bosco in a traveling museum show of modernist work. Bosco’s painting was the most expressive piece of art in the entire show. I kept wandering back to look at it again and again. The painting was of a white stallion but the colors were vivid—every hue of the rainbow was hidden in the lines and shadows. Before I left the museum I bought a postcard of the painting and carried it around in a battered sketchbook for years. Bosco was my greatest inspiration. I heard a rumor he had a studio somewhere in Avignon?”
“He did.” Miss Ruby pointed upward. “His studio is a corner room on the third floor. The landlord of the building has preserved it.”
“Bosco’s studio is here?” Maya tensed. “Can I see it?”
“No.” Miss Ruby shook her head. “I don’t have permission to open the room, but the landlord will return on Sunday. You can ask him then.”
“I won’t be here on Sunday.” A note of desolation crept into her voice. “This is my last full day in France. I have to start making my way back to Paris tomorrow for my flight home. I’ll miss my only chance to see Bosco’s studio.” Maya leaned across the bar, feeling absolutely desperate to get a look at Bosco actual living space. “Please reconsider—I promise not to touch a thing.”
“I’m sorry.” Miss Ruby nodded toward the top of the bar, where an ornate brass skeleton key dangled from a green satin ribbon. “The landlord is the only one allowed to use that key to open the studio…”
(La Fée Verte, the green fairy is going to make an appearance soon and cause a little mischief. Who do you think ends up getting ahold of that key and going upstairs?)