Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over and interview Jessica Aspen, author of Prince by Blood and Bone, Tales of the Black Court, Book Two. As an avid reader and writer of Fantasy Romance, I can’t wait to dig into this book. Sounds like an amazing read! So sit back, feet up and relax while we learn more about this intriguing novel.
Publisher: Abracadabra Publishing
Date of Publication: April 2014
Word Count: 90,000 words
Cover Artist: Kari Ayasha Cover to Cover Designs
GIVEAWAY! For your chance to win an e-copy of book one, The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, be sure to leave a comment. Contest ends Monday, May 12’th, 12 PM EST.
A rebellious prince, a reluctant witch, and a mysterious prophecy,twisted together in a tale of Beauty and the Beast
Trapped in an underground palace Prince Kian must remain a beast, or give in to the queen’s plan to strip him of his powers. But Kian refuses to submit to his mother's evil plan and is determined to escape both his prison and his curse—even if it means dabbling in witch's magic.
On the run for most of her life, Bryanna MacElvy has never learned to use her healing Gift. When she’s pulled by Kian’s spell into his prison, the prince sees the golden witch as his salvation. Refusing to let her, or to accept she is incapable of curing him, Kian offers her a terrible bargain—heal him, or give up her freedom forever.
Their lives entwined by fate, the prince must learn to love a human and Bryanna must learn to trust herself—or risk losing their freedom, his powers, and their passion, to the evil of the Black Queen.
Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in book two of her fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court
Time to Interview!
What inspired you to write this book?
This is book two in my fantasy romance series based on twisted fairy tales and when I wrote book one, The Dark Huntsman, I already knew which fairy tale would be twisted in book two. In fact, I knew little else, besides the fact that Prince Kian’s story would be a Beauty and the Beast twist. I’d already played around with Snow White in the first book, and in my other spicy, new adult series, Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods, I had not only done a different variant of Snow White with shape shifters, but I’d also twisted Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks, so I was ready for a new fairy tale plot. Beauty and the Beast is a favorite of mine. I’ve always loved that the heroine is able to see past the beast’s dark side and find the inner man. I wanted that for Prince Kian, he needed someone who could see past his outer shell, as a beast and as a man. He’s complicated and not always kind. He grew up in the depths of the Black Court and it wasn’t a good place for a child. He had to be selfish to survive.
How did you come up with the title?
When I wrote the first book, The Dark Huntsman, the hero, Logan is under an obligation to the Black Queen. His uncles are concerned about what the queen will do to him and I wrote a line that epitomized the type of curse, or deep obligation, that one can incur magically when one dealing with the fae.
“She’ll ride him, Angus.” Rinnal stared as the black heart of the ember flared into a vicious red. “Ride him ‘til he’s tied to her by blood and bone.”
To be bound by blood and bone is a very deep bond, that can’t easily be broken. When I thought of Kian, imprisoned and cursed to be a beast by his own mother, I thought of a man whose wounds went deep. He’s lost his freedom, his magic, his own shape. He’s powerful in his own right and to take away his freedom and bind his magical gifts it would need to be a very strong curse. One that not only used his own magic to create his bonds, but to be complete would also need his own blood and bone.
Tell us about your book cover and how it relates to your story.
Ah, the book cover. I love this cover and truthfully it was very difficult to find an image that could compete with the amazing cover my cover artist, Kari Ayasha, did for The Dark Huntsman. That was my and Kari’s priority, to make both books feel like they were connected in some way. We did this by continuing the dark forest theme, but in this book the setting is in the snowy north near the demese of the White Queen. I love the winter forest we finally chose.
And as for Bryanna on the front. It was more a matter of finding a picture that showed the feeling of the book, rather than being exactly from one or another scene. The movement and action in both cover is something special. I love the way she looks like she’s about to wield her weapon and take on the world. Strong, sexy, and with a supernatural feel. I do have to caution you, Bryanna doesn’t start off this way, she has to find her way to believe in herself, but I think the cover shows you the Bryanna at the end of the story. One who has faith not only in herself, but in Kian and their love.
Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
I’m currently working on book three in this series, Broken Mirror, the third and last book in this trilogy about Bryanna’s sister Cassie. The Black Queen, Kian’s mother, uses human psychics to control her people and her world, and she calls her pet psychic her mirror. Unfortunately she’s extremely hard on him and by book two it’s apparent she needs a new mirror. Cassie is a psychic. I don’t want to give anything away from Prince by Blood and Bone, but the queen will do anything to know what the future holds. Even destroy that which she thinks will give her the information.
Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
I’ve tried to work in the office upstairs where I can shut the door and it’s quiet, but that doesn’t work for me. That’s not to say I don’t like it quiet—I do. I love to write when my kids are at school and my husband is at work, but I also love to be on the main floor. It’s sunny and everything I need is there; the refrigerator, the tea-pot, and the sofa for my occasional breaks. Seriously, I love having the space around me, and the light, so I set up a folding TV table in the family room and balance my laptop on that. The cool thing about my office space is that when we have guests over I can disconnect the laptop, fold up my table, and the plastic under my chair, and stow it all away. It’s easy and convenient and still in the heart of the house.
If you could make changes to a story you’ve already written, which would it be and why?
Oh, I would change all of them! Okay, not the main stories. I love my characters and my fairy tale twists, but at the end of the day I’m still editing when I push send. I would edit forever. Every time I re-read one of my books I see words I would change. I am always learning new things, new ways to write, and I want my previous books to reflect that. When I pick up Little Red Riding Wolf, I think I should have done this, or changed that. But it’s too late now. All authors will tell you that at some point they have to say “enough!” and move on to the next book. The people who don’t do that spend all their time polishing the same manuscript. And that’s just fine, but I have way too many stories to write to not stop and send them off!
Do you prefer to write short stories, novellas or novels? Why?
I prefer to write both novellas and novels. I’m not a big short story fan. There isn’t enough space for me to get down all of my information. Originally, I wasn’t sure that I could write even short enough for a novella, but then I tried it and wrote Little Red Riding Wolf, my first book. I found that I liked writing in the 30,000+ range. It’s nice to have something done quickly. I’m currently working on a different novella that will be a contemporary, new adult, Gothic, Ghosts of Christmas Past, just so I have something different from the fantasy novels. I love the deep world building of the Tales of the Black Court, but it’s nice to take a break from the heavy lifting and play in the modern world for a change. Novels give you the ability to dig deep and to explore multiple viewpoints and worlds, but the novellas are fun, fast, and entertaining. I plan to publish one to two novellas a year, not just because I love writing them, but also to give my readers more books!
Thanks for having me on as your guest today, Sky, and featuring Prince by Blood and Bone. It’s been a pleasure!
Anytime, Jessica! Wishing you much success with this wonderful series.
Kian barely got into his chamber and slammed the door shut before succumbing to his desperate need, frantically clawing off the confining cloak, scrunching it into a bundle, and viciously hurling it into a corner. He shook with the effort of controlling himself, his rage, anger, and frustration, spewing out in a bone-shaking roar.
As the dust settled, he paced the room, shoving broken furniture out of his way and listening to the tinkling of the crystal chandelier as it quivered to a stop.
He’d been here too long. So long he’d forgotten how a single breath of rose-scented skin could tempt a man to violence.
From the long blond hair and almond-shaped glass green eyes, all the way down her very long legs in those ridiculously short shorts, she couldn’t have been any more tempting. And he’d been tempted. Tempted to rip off her clothes and see what her full breasts looked like below the low scoop of her tank top. Tempted to lick and taste and devour her skin all the way down to the soft indent of the belly button that had flashed him when he’d scared her. Tempted enough to take her, and ravish her, and jeopardize all chance of her good will.
The wench had no idea how close she’d come to being violated.
If she hadn’t turned out to be a witch, would he have been able to resist the lure of her femininity? He’d been alone with only Beezel and the goblins for too long. He didn’t think any man would resist a fantasy sex slave dropped into his prison. But she wasn’t a slave. She was his only hope, and he would need to woo her into helping him break the curse.
Kian crossed to the full-length mirror he forced himself to look into once a day, lest he forget how much his mother hated him. She had twisted his Gift, and it was twisting his soul. His magic was strong, a legacy of his royal blood, and she’d used it against him the way only his twisted mother could. She’d taken his Gift, a thing of beauty, the ability to take on any shape—a mouse, a troll, a wolf, anything at all—and she’d perverted it before imprisoning him.
He stared and brooded at his reflection in the mirror, at the worst motley of animals he’d ever seen. Himself. And wondered what the terribly young, terribly beautiful, terribly innocent witch would think.
The upright stance of a human, but the humped-up shoulders of a bear. The razor-sharp talons of an eagle, but the heavy, earthbound weight of a boar. Long tusks protruded next to his wolf-like muzzle, and if it weren’t for magic, his too long tongue and sharp fangs would make speech impossible. His mother had stolen all his shapes from him and left him a mess, but at least she’d left him the ability to communicate. Goddess only knew why.
No woman would want to look at a creature like him. No woman would kiss a man with a wolf’s face and tongue, and a boar’s tusks. No woman would be running her hands down his coarse, hairy chest, and when she discovered what lay between his thighs? No.
His fist lashed out and connected with the mirror. Gleaming shards of glass flew, catching in his short, scrubby mane and fur.
The girl would help him. And soon. He didn’t know how long he could restrain himself from burying his face in her hair, and his cock between those long, long legs.
A hesitant knock sounded on the door.
Beezel entered and scrambled into a low bow.
“Enough of that.” Kian began pacing again, too restless to stand still. “Does she like her room? Do you think we should have put her in the one next to the library instead?”
The gnome’s accusing eyes took in the broken glass and the shattered mirror, but like the good servant he pretended to be, he kept his opinion to himself. Kian restrained the overwhelming urge to beat the gnome for the reproach he would never voice.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine, Your Highness. She doesn’t seem to care.”
“Doesn’t care?” Kian crossed to the trembling gnome, who edged closer to the open door. “Explain,” he growled.
Beezel hesitated. “She threw herself on the bed, sobbing, as soon as she entered. She doesn’t want to be here, none of us do.”
Kian stalked up and down the large room, pushing chairs and tables out of his way. “She’s staying.”
“Sire, I doubt your mother will let her.”
“My mother!” Kian crossed the room and picked up the gnome, shaking him hard until his arms and legs flew as if on strings. “You will not tell the queen. You will not tell anyone about this girl. Do you understand?
“B-b-but, I must.” The gnome’s knees knocked together.
“Beezel,” Kian lowered his voice and drew close to the gnome. “If you do, I will kill you.”
“If I d-d-don’t the q-q-queen will do much worse.”
The reek of the gnome’s fear overwhelmed his sensitive wolf’s nose.
“Beezel, the queen is not here. I am. The strength of the spell confining me here has left her blind to whatever goes on within the confines of my prison. She’ll never know if you don’t tell her.” He lowered his voice and whispered into the gnome’s bumpy, pointed ear, “But I’ll know if you tell the queen and the girl is taken away from me. And I’m sure you will still be here for me to punish.”
He lowered Beezel to the ground and patted his bald head. “Beezel, what do you desire? Jewels? Gold? An underground palace such as this one?” Kian swung his arm wide. The warren was falling apart, but for a cavern gnome such as Beezel, it would be more lavish than any other home he would have in his lifetime. “Once I am released I can give you all of that, and more. But only once the witch has freed me from this curse that binds my form and my powers. If you tell the queen and she takes the witch, I will still be stuck here, but without a chance of freedom, and whatever hold she has over you will remain.” He paused, and sighed. “Trust me, she never lets go. If you do this, I’ll set you free and make sure you’re well rewarded.”
The little gnome avoided his gaze. “Well, Beezel? What’s it to be? Do I reward you, or do I have to kill you now to gain some time?” Kian pushed out a frustrated breath. “Are you in?”
Beezel moved his head in a slow nod.
Kian’s muscles relaxed in a rush of relief. He didn’t know what he would have done if the gnome had refused. He likely would have had to kill him, and who knew what the queen would send next.
“Good,” he said. “Swear to me you’ll not tell anyone about our visitor, anything about the girl, nor my endeavors.”
The gnome’s voice came out almost too low to hear, but Kian caught the words. “I swear.”
For the first time in too long the tell-tale energizing upswing of joy and anticipation tingled along his nerves. Finally, after too many years in this dusty abandoned place, he would have his own shape, his powers, and his freedom.
About the Author
Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies.
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