Here’s what the author says about herself:
"ADR Forte writes a variety of short fiction for adults. Her fantasy, erotica, and erotic fantasy appear in various anthology collections. http://www.facebook.com/ADRForte"
I happen to know that “various anthology collections” is an understatement, since I know of many books where you can find her work, but I’ll let you find those for yourself. What I will do is show you why you should care, with an excerpt from her story here that just begins to hint at how gorgeous her prose can be. It can also be scorchingly hot and gorgeous at the same time, but for that part you’ll have to read the entire story in the book.
Another tourist attraction in the impatient midst of the bustling, honking downtown, the palace dreams its dreams. They have pulled down the old ruins of the walls now, and anyone can get to the gardens, a shrubby fragment of their former glory. But it was not always this way.
Once, the walls towered, crowned with iron spikes. Once, only the faintest scent of roses wafted out into the night. Borne by the wind. Blown by the breath of a princess.
She leans her head against the window arch, letting the night cool the ache and heat of the revelry below. A few, precious minutes of escape. A respite from excess, from glittering, smiling duty. She lifts a hand to her head, to the confection of gold mesh and filigree birds with eyes of jewels. It is heavy, this towering artistry of the hairdressers' guild, and it weighs on her neck with the burden of an iron ring. It cages more than her dark hair.
She would tug at the coif, send the birds flying to a watery grave in the fountains far, far below. If she dared. But she cannot. No more than she can forever say "no." To her father. To the state. To the bonds of birth.
But she can reach her arms to the distance that unfolds beneath her, away from her, into a destiny she cannot imagine. She can sing of all she cannot say, of all she cannot even think, to the night wind that carries her song across the plains and out into the wide world, to fall where it may.
Maevyn wakes, shivering in her furs. The stars are bright pinpoints in the darkness, but their light is not what has wakened her. Nor is it the cold, though her breath turns to steam as she gets to her feet and reaches for bow and knife. Snow mutes her footsteps and pine branches brush, sharp and pungent, by her face until she reaches the wooden bridge where the river churns, still and sluggish, between its banks.
In this season, there is no travel. The Hadrai huddle close to their fires, within the shelter of stone and wood. The warriors take their skills to the foothills in search of meat, and even they share the fires of the small folk when they can. As she does now, following the sound of pipes to the vale below. There is a song playing in her head, but not one of the folk. Not a song of the Hadrai. Not one she's ever heard before.
And yet it goes on, a ripple of notes so exquisitely joined they might almost hide the sorrow in the melody, the loneliness in this song she doesn't know. The call that drives her to search for something, somewhere, against all good common sense.
"Who is it that calls?" says a voice in the dark.
"It is I," she replies as she steps into the edge of the fires' glow.
"Maevyn. And how fare you?"
She nods her head at the small, greybearded man, but in the way of his kind, he senses what she doesn’t say. He holds out a pitcher and mug, gestures to the nearest fire ring.
"Come," says he, "and tell me what disquiets your soul.”
If only she could. If only there were a way to describe this nameless, faceless longing. This compulsion, this knowledge that she must go. Though to do so is madness. And folly.
"If the wind calls to you," says the wiseman, "you know you must follow it. The wind never speaks for nothing."
If only it would tell her: Why her? If only it would tell her what path it wants her to travel.
Before first light, she leaves the valley and the mountains dreaming in the last stillness of winter night.
I go, she thinks, to almost certain death. But surely the wind cannot be so capricious, so devious. Instinct tells her the trail she follows is not false, and she believes it, though everyone has judged her insane.
"But where do you go?" Commach has asked. No, demanded, as he thinks he has a right to. And with a stifled sigh, she has, out of kindness, tried to explain. The expanses of land flat as a pancake, jeweled with rivers and great swaths of water. Like lakes, but so flat. Not even a hillock in sight. Buildings and walls of towering, golden stone, sprawling in every direction. Sand and dust everywhere the rivers and strange lakes don't touch. A land for giants.
West, the wind seems to whisper. West, where nothing lies but frost and impassable peaks. But perhaps beyond the peaks. What then?
Commach has turned away in disgust, not bothering for the first time to try to touch her hand. To boldly brush his shoulder against hers. Realizing at last that his bid is lost. You go to your death.
And maybe she does. She hasn't told Commach or anyone about the flowers. Red like blood, ringed by thorns. But beautiful, so beautiful. Petals soft as fur. She aches to touch them, willing to brave the thorns, to bleed on them for the chance to breathe their sweetness, to rest her skin against silken blooms. Maybe that will be her demise.
In the logic of dream, such a death seems worth it.
And it just gets more intriguing from there.
Now it’s time for—you guessed it—
THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS
Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.
Why are so few people commenting to join the drawing? I’d be feeling paranoid, sure that hardly anybody had any interest in this book, if I hadn’t just done a reading last Saturday night at a bookstore in New York where it was selling well, and then, at the New York Pride March on Sunday, I visited my publisher’s vendor’s table and was told that they’d sold out of the copies they’d brought and had sent back to their office for more. So somebody’s interested.
Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.
June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)
June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”
June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”
June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”
June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”
June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”
June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”
June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”
June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”
June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”
June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”
June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of Solisterre”
June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”