Awakening the handsome prince is supposed to end the fairy tale, not begin it. But the Highvalley witches have rarely done things the way they're supposed to. On the north Pacific island of Eidolonia, hidden from the world by enchantments, Prince Larkin has lain in a magical sleep since 1799 as one side of a truce between humans and fae. That is, until Merrick Highvalley, a modern-day witch, discovers an old box of magic charms and cryptic notes hidden inside a garden statue.
Experimenting with the charms, Merrick finds himself inside the bower where Larkin lies, and accidentally awakens him. Worse still, releasing Larkin from the spell also releases Ula Kana, a faery bent on eradicating humans from the island. With the truce collapsing and hostilities escalating throughout the country, Merrick and Larkin form an unlikely alliance and become even unlikelier heroes as they flee into the perilous fae realm on a quest to stop Ula Kana and restore harmony to their island.
[Content warnings: Magic used nonconsensually to compel others; violent attacks, including some blood and fire; death and grief; imprisonment; untrustworthy governments.]
Read the first five chapters below.
“…delightful…passionate…Ringle’s clever worldbuilding, well-rounded characters, and tight action sequences are sure to impress. With this engrossing urban fantasy, Ringle delivers a queer fairy tale as electrifying as it is tender.” - Publishers Weekly
“Absolutely enchanting! Ringle’s writing is as dreamy and lush as her vividly imagined island of Eidolonia, making this a perfect escape. Lava Red Feather Blue is sure to delight lovers of fae, fairytales, and fantasy.” - Allie Therin, author of the Magic in Manhattan series
“Lush and imaginative—an epic fantasy for a new generation, full of love, vengeance, redemption, and forgiveness.” - Pam Stucky, author of The Universes Inside the Lighthouse
“Come for the Sleeping Beauty allusion; stay for the incredible world-building! Fans of fantasy, especially anything fae-related, will find this a very rich, satisfying read.” - Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club and Three Truths and a Lie
Interview: Q&A about the relationships in Lava Red Feather Blue at Relationships Are Complicated, January 2022
Video: Molly introduces and reads from Lava Red Feather Blue, December 2020
Video: Molly discusses writing, creativity, the challenges of 2020, and Lava Red Feather Blue in conversation with author Pam Stucky, October 2020
Note: For all of the scents listed here, or for any perfume at all, I highly recommend starting with a sample and not springing for a “blind buy” of a full bottle. Scents vary a great deal on each person’s skin, and to each person’s nose, and should be test-driven before one commits to a larger purchase. Some reliable sites where I’ve bought perfume samples include Luckyscent, Surrender to Chance, Olfactif, and The Perfumed Court. For Solstice Scents fragrances, though, you’ll likely only find them at the Solstice Scents site itself.
If you know of a perfume you think would fit well into this list, let me know! We can keep adding to the list. True perfume fanatics always want to try more scents!
Sia Fia’s realm: for Silver and Lunacy, described as island-harvested rose, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, patchouli, incense, musk, and honey:
One of the top contenders that came to mind for me when writing this was Absolue Pour le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian…BUT IT’S BEEN DISCONTINUED! If you CAN find any to sample, I warn you that a fair number of people who smell it think it’s disgusting. The rest of us, however, find it highly sexy. This is often the case with the most carnal scents! MFK describes its notes as rose honey from Bulgaria, incense absolute, cumin, benzoin from Siam, and sandalwood.
Another possibility I love, heavy on the honey, is Bee by Zoologist Perfumes. It starts out like a freshly opened jar of orange blossom honey, then deepens into facets of mimosa, benzoin, sandalwood, incense, ginger, heliotrope, labdanum, tonka, and musk.
Yet another, more floral and hay-like but still rich with honey and carnality, is Tabac Tabou by Parfum d’Empire, which is advertised as having notes of immortelle, tobacco, narcissus, honey, grass, and musk.
If you want to go old-school carnal, look on eBay for a vintage bottle of Bal a Versailles by Jean Desprez. It’s usually easy to find, and is a yummy, powdery concoction of civet, resins, balsam, amber, vanilla, musk, sandalwood, orris root, rose, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and more.
For old-school carnal on the macho side, I love Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (white bottle, not Body Kouros in the black bottle). A small dab will do—it’s potent! On my skin it’s both shower-clean and sexy-dirty, a mix I love. It’s got civet, honey, patchouli, aldehydes, leather, carnation, coriander, musk, oakmoss, artemisia, and other spices and florals.
And one more beauty, which is less about the honey and more about the rose, but still has a very “sexy boudoir” feel, is Salome by Papillon, a huge fan favorite in the indie perfume fandom, featuring jasmine, musks, Turkish rose, carnation, cumin, mosses, and tobacco.
Arlanuk’s realm: for Hunter’s Night, described as earth, stone, oakmoss, island redwood, cedar, vetiver, and a hint of wood smoke:
I suggest Runestone by Solstice Scents, which, according to the fragrance creator, contains aged patchouli, dirt, oakmoss, cedar, muhuhu, violet leaf absolute, leaves, vetiver, sandalwood, cypress, spruce, pine and very faint hints of lavender absolute, rosewood, rosemary, hinoki, spikenard and more. It has that “potting soil” feel that comes with patchouli, but is nicely tempered by greenery and stone, and when I smelled it, I thought, “This is what the forest in the fae realm smells like.”
Another good one worth trying is Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens, as a tribute to the pines that delineate Arlanuk’s territory. Its notes are pine needles, vetiver, sugary sap, laurel, fir balsam, frankincense, candied fruit, and spice.
Vowri’s realm: for Melancholia, notes of cold flowers in rain, iris, lilac, and the sadness of vintage perfume on old clothes:
Clearly the ideal choice here is a vintage perfume, especially the mega-classic L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain. Guerlain describes it as containing aniseed, bergamot, carnation, neroli, iris, violet, vanilla, benzoin, and tonka beans, but to the perfumistas of the world it is famous for its melancholy feel. Its name, after all, means “the blue hour.”
See also Après l'Ondée from the same house, which has similar notes to L’Heure Bleue but with more of a feel of rain on a garden.
Another lovely vintage-based scent, which in my opinion would fit the bill for this section, is Pourpre d’Automne by Maison Violet. It has cool violet and iris at center stage, supported by rose, plum, peach, musk, benzoin, and oakmoss, all with an early-1900s powdery cosmetic atmosphere.
For the story in general:
I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince. I mean, could its name get any more fitting? But its actual scent is ideal too, a chilly forest smell, mysterious and lovely and fairy-tale-ready, featuring blackcurrant, fir, red wine, wet green branches, pine needles, woods, and mosses.
Dryad by Papillon is another beautiful take on an enchanted forest, perhaps one in late summer, full of warm golden sunlight between the trees. It has notes of galbanum, bergamot, narcissus, clary sage, orris root, oakmoss, fruits, herbs, and vetiver.
Larkin remembers walking through the lemon orchard at the palace with his lover, back in the late 1700s. And citrus blossom scents were indeed popular in that century, in the perfumes of that time. (Perfume options were more limited then in general, as chemistry practices weren’t nearly as advanced as they are now—but on Eidolonia, who knows?) Therefore I think for nostalgia reasons he might like Fleurs de Citronnier by Serge Lutens, a lovely, gentle lemon blossom scent that also includes neroli, tuberose, and musk.
Larkin notices Merrick (and his car) smelling of leather and sweet spice early in their acquaintance. We can assume this is a Mirage Isle Perfumes scent he and Cassidy created. I haven’t given it a name, but I had in mind something like Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d’Empire. It’s a deliciously smooth, sweet leather scent, which also includes incense, jasmine, iris, benzoin, balsams, and resin.