Just Imagine

Just Imagine

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Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Deadly Seven. Interview with Kyoko M.



Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over Kyoko M, author of The Deadly Seven, Book Two in the Black Parade Series. 

Number of pages: 120
Word Count: 58,546

ASIN: B00K706A5M 

Cover Artist: Christine Savoie and Katie Litchfield

Book Description


Michael O’Brien. 24. New Yorker. Musician. Commander of Heaven’s army.

It’s been centuries since Michael stayed on Earth for an extended period of time. Now he’s here because of Jordan Amador—a Seer who helped him restore his life and memories and thwart the archdemon Belial from taking over the city. With Jordan on Belial’s hit list, Michael decides to stick around and live out life alongside her as her friend and temporary bodyguard. But as the days pass, he finds it harder to resist the seven deadly sins that tempt all men. Especially as he and Jordan grow closer fighting the demons who want her almost as much as he does…

Available at Amazon

GIVEAWAY! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter after this post for a chance to win one of 5 paperback or ebook copies of The Deadly Seven - winner’s choice. Paperback open to US Shipping Only

Interview Time!


If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

If I could sit down with any of my characters to chat, I'd probably pick my main villain, Belial. Granted, he'd probably try to kill me for writing him lusting after a woman he can never have, but it'd probably be worth it. I'd love to get his perspective on his past lives. He is one truly vicious individual  and yet I'm a bit impressed by how little he cares about what people think of him. He just says whatever pops into that disturbed head of his. He has a sense of direction and nothing makes him hesitate, not even the worst thing you could ever imagine. I'd like to know what it must be like to have no limitations and to be so ambitious.

Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story. 

The main conflict of The Deadly Seven is of course the seven deadly sins as Michael experiences them while masquerading as a human alongside Jordan Amador, the Seer he's protecting. Michael has been a soldier and a leader since his inception, so he has never quite experienced the temptations we deal with every day. There is always the urge to be a massive a-hole in any frustrating circumstance, and he has to deal with all kinds of crap that all rests on his shoulders. Michael is a great guy and a true gentleman, but he has a bit of a dark side underneath that the story digs in to as it progresses. He also has some pretty serious feelings for Jordan that he doesn't quite understand yet, and isn't sure if he is ready to in the first place. His cluelessness about Jordan, and women in general, is a big source of tension as well. She likes him quite a bit, but she keeps things to the chest. They are basically two big idiots in denial and that is what makes them so interesting.

Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details. 

The next novel in the series is She Who Fights Monsters. We jump ahead a year in the midst of a harrowing string of murders. Someone has been systematically killing off Seers and Jordan and Michael are trying to hunt the killer down. When they finally catch wind of a clue, it turns out that they require the help of the sinister archdemon Belial. The struggle then becomes tracking down the killer while dealing with Belial's hidden agenda. There is also the continuing  thread of attraction between Belial and Jordan, which drives a wedge in her relationship with Michael.

What sort of personality does your hero have?

Michael has an interesting personality type because he has some traditional traits of a soldier, a leader, and a gentleman, but his time as a human musician changed him into a much more laidback kind  of guy. He has quite the sly sense of humor and he lends himself to a lot of great lines in the series. His sense of justice is unshakable but he does begin to slide into the grey areas during the Deadly Seven.

What sort of personality does your heroine have?

Jordan's personality contrasts Michael in that he wears his heart on his sleeve and she keeps most things to herself. Her attraction to him is obvious to everyone but her, and that's on purpose. Jordan grew up under constant abuse and neglect, so she is afraid to trust anyone, or depend on them. However, she has the same drive and need to save people that Michael does and that is what helped their friendship gel so quickly.


Excerpt


Being Jordan Amador’s angelic bodyguard against a horde of bloodthirsty demons was a lot of things, but certainly not boring.

I checked my watch for the fortieth time in the last twenty minutes. Jordan usually got off at eight o’clock. Things had been quiet for over two weeks now, which was rare for a Seer’s lifestyle. She encountered ghosts with unfinished business a few times a month and that kept the both of us busy. Earlier, she had convinced me to meet her at the bus stop a couple streets over instead of in front of the Sweet Spot. 

“So would you mind waiting for me at the bus stop instead of out here?” she had asked, sweeping her shoulder-length black hair up into its usual high ponytail. 

I frowned. “Why? Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of the whole ‘temporary bodyguard’ thing?”

“It’s been quiet for a while now, Michael. Come on. Helping avert the end of the world and ganking an archdemon aren’t enough to prove I can take care of myself?”

I glanced between her and the store front. A couple of her waitress friends who were watching us through the window scattered as soon as I looked over. Then it clicked.

“They think I’m your boyfriend, huh?”

Jordan got really interested in her shoes all of the sudden. “Yeah. They do.”

I shook my head. She was an anointed soul charged with helping the dead find peace and yet she still cared what her coworkers thought of our relationship. I couldn’t decide if it was cute, frustrating, or hilarious. Possibly all three.

Then again, I could see how her coworkers would get confused that a six-foot-tall, dark-haired, green-eyed “underwear model” (which I overheard one of them dub me last week) dropped Jordan off at work on a frequent basis. I decided to be lenient for once. 

“Fine. We’ll give it a test run today. If you survive, I’ll take it into consideration.”

She shot me a scowl. “Gee, thanks, almighty Michael. I am humbled that you considered the request of a lowly human.”

I grinned. “You’re welcome, my humble servant.”

She rolled her eyes and swatted my arm before turning to head into the restaurant. “Later, pretty boy.”
“Stay out of trouble.” I called, and then headed back towards the bus stop.

That had been eight hours ago. Getting off a shift late wasn’t unusual for a waitress, but most times it was by only five or ten minutes. My instincts needled at me that something was off. 

Sighing, I fished out my cell phone and called her, tapping my foot. “Come on, Amador, pick up.”

Several rings. A click. Voicemail message. Ugh. I hung up and stuffed my hands in my pockets. It was a short walk through the heavily trafficked area on this side of Albany, New York, but it was during one of the busier times of the day. Nighttime in the city meant chatty couples walking through holding hands, teenagers hollering and chasing each other down the street, and music pouring out from the clubs already packed to the rafters with the twenty-somethings. 

Two stop lights, one near-death experience courtesy of a speeding cab, and one step in some gum later, and I reached the glowing red sign to the Sweet Spot. The Southern cuisine eatery was busy. As much as Northerners made fun of the South in sitcoms and stand up shows, they sure did like the food. 

I pushed the door open and smiled at Beth, the head hostess. “Hey, you.”

“Michael.” The short blonde grinned. “Good to see you as always.”

“Is Jordan still in the back?”

A slight frown marred her brow. “No, honey. She left about ten minutes ago.”

I froze. “Left how? She was supposed to meet me at the bus stop.”

“She went out back to take out the trash and I just assumed she went home after. Why? Something wrong?”

A cold lump settled in my stomach. Something wasn’t adding up. Jordan wasn’t the type to disappear without texting me. I didn’t want to concern her friends so I kept my expression pleasant. “Nah, she probably just wandered off to window shop. I’ll catch up with her. Thanks, Beth.”

“No problem, sweets.”

I made a point to leave the restaurant in a casual manner, but once I was out of sight, I hurried around the block to the back of the building. The Sweet Spot was part of an entertainment district in this section of Albany. There were narrow alleys between the establishments and the streets ran parallel to the store fronts
The Sweet Spot’s back alley looked like any other restaurant in Albany—lined by dumpsters and garbage cans. The concrete was littered with fallen bits of food. A couple of mangy cats fought over fish bones. The entire area stank to high heaven. I called Jordan’s phone again and prayed that my instincts were wrong.

The raucous chorus to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” echoed behind me. 

I turned towards one of the dumpsters and lifted the entire thing with one hand. Her phone lay cracked and forlorn underneath it.

Shit.

About the Author



Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon's 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.

Visit Kyoko M



Blog 




Thursday, May 15, 2014

Readers & Authors Connect at InD'tale! Interview with owner, TJ Mackay.


Today I’m totally thrilled to welcome over TJ Mackay, owner of InD’tale Magazine. As an author, I’ve worked with TJ on several projects including hiring her services for digital and print ads as well as InD’tale’s infamous Book Bargains flyer. Not only have I already seen awesome sales results but TJ’s truly phenomenal to work with. Friendly, courteous, upbeat and professional, she’s been an absolute pleasure. I can’t recommend her website and magazine enough for readers and authors. Such a great way for both to connect!

In that I’m such a fan of InD’tale, I’m determined to spread the word. So sit back, relax and read on!

SKY:  Thanks for joining us today, TJ! What inspired you to create InD’tale Magazine?

TJ: All the wonderful, talented Indie and small published authors who were struggling to find a voice in this huge industry are the inspiration!  I was working for a traditional magazine a few years ago but was constantly being asked by indie authors to read their books.  Many of those books were every bit as good, if not better, than those I was reading for the traditional authors.  It just didn’t seem fair that the indie authors were being given so few opportunities to promote and become just as successful.

SKY:  What can readers expect to find when they browse www.indtale.com

TJ:  They can find all kinds of great things!  If one is looking for a great book to read, they can look right on the homepage for the featured books of the month (those that rated highest in review) or they can open the genre they like and browse through the hundreds of professionally reviewed books, then just click to pick up their favorites!  We offer tidbits of the latest interviews, articles and columns from each months magazine. We have monthly contests where readers win everything from gift certificates to baskets of books, we even have a weekly cover contest to vote on... Yikes!   I could be here all day!  It’s easiest just to point you in the right direction and let you see for yourself!

SKY:  What can readers expect from InD’tale magazine? 

TJ:  Every single month they can expect one in-depth conversation with a New York Times/USA today bestselling author where they can get to know that author personally like never before.  They can expect fun and informative articles and columns, a continuing serial romance, introductions to the newest and hottest models and always, they can find the very best books by browsing the 80 - 100 new reviews each month, covering almost all genres.   Basically a readers heaven!!

SKY:  Both the website and magazine are a great way for readers to find authors and vice versa. Tell us a little bit about what you offer authors in the way of advertising. 

TJ:  Because our main focus is to help authors succeed, we work very hard at providing many options for promotion, each to satisfy whatever one’s pocketbook can afford.  Along with the very inexpensive advertising offered in the magazine and on the website, we also run a bi-weekly “Book Bargain” flyer that tells all our subscribers of the latest books that are currently on sale.  We have the “InD’tale suggests” spotlight in our monthly newsletter for books that receive a 4 star or higher rating.  We also accept article submissions and include a short bio, picture and offer a free full page ad for those we publish.  Again, I could go on all day! 

SKY:  How often do you send out InD’tale Magazine to readers? 

TJ:  The magazine publishes and is sent to readers once a month with a 10 issue yearly run.  Once over the Christmas holiday and once in the summer we publish a special double issue so that our staff can enjoy the holidays and their summer vacations. ;)

SKY:  Ohhh, I see you run a Cr√©me de la Cover Contest! Tell us more about that. 

TJ:  Well, along with the RONE awards, which showcase the very best in indie writing each year, we award the very best in cover design. Each week we post 4 of the best covers, taken from the books and/or images submitted to us, for readers to vote on.  The winner of each week’s “semi-final” round receives a free 1/4 page ad in InD’tale magazine.  At the end of every month the winners of the semi-final rounds compete for cover of the month.  That winner is awarded a free full page ad.  Those covers are also entered into the RONE awards to compete for best of the year in their respective genres.

SKY:  InD’tale also offers book reviews. I’d love to hear some details about that. 

TJ:  Book reviews are the very basis from which authors can build their audience and become successful.  Professional reviews are very important to that building but are much different from the personal reviews you see on sites such as Amazon or Goodreads.  Professional reviews receive much higher credibility so are held to much higher standards.  They are the reviews that carry the most weight when readers are searching for a book.  They are also what was lacking in the Indie industry until InD’tale Magazine came along.  Now Indie authors are able to include quotes on their books and in their advertising from a highly credible source that everyone knows and respects.  

SKY:  Thanks again for stopping by, TJ! Readers and authors, doesn't InD'tale sound fabulous? Interested in learning more? Head over to www.indtale.com and browse around. You won't be disappointed!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Deadly Elf Hero. A Heroine Who's His Match. The Darkness of Glengowyn by Isabo Kelly.



Today I’m thrilled to welcome over and interview, Isabo Kelly, author of The Darkness of Glengowyn, Fire and Tears, Book 2. If you love Fantasy Romance half as much as I do, this book is sure to please! I just LOVE the product warnings for this one. *grins*  Perfect!

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: April 29, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61922-046-1
ASIN: B00HSOHSCY
Number of pages: 151 pages
Word Count: 44,000 words
Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Amazon       BN        Samhain    Kobo

GIVEAWAY! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter after this post for a chance to win one of the following: 3 ebook copies of the first book in the Fire and Tears series—BRIGHT ARROW BURNING or 1- $40 gift certificate to winner’s choice of B&N or Amazon.

Book Description


They’ll risk forever death for one last chance together…

Nuala of Glengowyn hasn’t left her home city in over a century, but not by choice. Her skill as a weapons master has made her a prisoner of her people. Held apart, protected in the extreme—until Sorcerers attack the human city of Sinnale.

Sent to supply her unique magical arrows to help the humans, she is far from free. 

The elf king and queen have sent a bodyguard, a fearsome warrior whose reputation has no rival. The only man she has ever wanted. Einar of Glengowyn.

Einar is known as a battle-crazed destroyer, so feared among elves he’s called by a single name: Darkness. And he has only one weakness—Nuala. Their union is forbidden, for melding their magics could destroy Nuala’s gifts. Yet as they journey to the war-torn city, no royal decree is a match for two hundred years of pent-up desire.  

But even if they escape the war zone, their lives still hang in the balance. They must confront their sovereigns and prove love makes them stronger—or face their deaths.

Product Warnings:  This book contains a deadly elf hero, a heroine who’s his match, a lot of sexy misbehaving, some hard language, racing through the streets, owls, arrows, evil Sorcerers, wicked minions, and a very dangerous elf king and queen.

Interview Time!


Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.

The Darkness of Glengowyn follows the story of two Glengowyn elves, Nuala and Einar, who’ve been in love for centuries but have been ordered to stay apart by their king and queen. When elves bond fully, their magic mixes and the results are unpredictable. Nuala creates a very unique arrow with her magic, and those arrows are considered too valuable to risk. So she and Einar are forced to separate. Then the elves get involved in the neighboring human city Sinnale’s war with a group of invading Sorcerers. The elves agree to sell Nuala’s special arrows to the Sinnale, but it means she has to go into the war zone. The king and queen send Einar with her to keep her safe (he’s the personal body guard to the king and queen and the scariest warrior elf in Glengowyn). But of course everything goes wrong. Einar and Nuala have to survive the war zone and try not to give in to their long held love and desire. We all know how that will turn out *g*  Then they’ll have to face their sovereigns which will not be a good thing.


Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.

I’m currently toying with the fourth book in the Fire and Tears series—getting the basic story down. And I’m also editing what was supposed to be the final book of my science fiction romance series The Naravan Chronicles. I say it’s supposed to be the last book, but because I love world-building, I’ve left way too much room for more books as well as the option to write a spin-off series. LOL. We’ll have to see how that all works out.


Did you enjoy writing one scene above all the rest? If so, share.

Actually, I loved writing most of this book because I adored the chemistry between Nuala and Einar (Einar is so sexy!), but in the end, my favorite scene was probably the final confrontation with the Glengowyn king and queen. It’s so tense and scary and full of potential disaster! I love it. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there’s this part with Einar that I really really really loved writing.


Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.

In real life, I have to just write wherever I am at any given point. And I’ve actually gotten pretty good at writing whenever and wherever. I even work standing up at the kitchen counter while my baby is playing around at my feet—I’m doing that now—because if I tried to sit down, he’d have his hands in the middle of my keyboard “helping” me write. But where I really love to work is sitting outside, on a porch or balcony, watching the ocean roll in. There’s a peace and contentment to it that makes the writing fun. It’s like that mythical “writer’s life” we’d all love to live. LOL. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. But it’s fun when it does.


How long have you been writing? How long have you been published?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of making up stories and eventually that turned into writing the stories down. I didn’t always know I’d end up an author, but I think the urge to tell stories in writing has always been there. I started taking the writing seriously when I went to college (for a degree in science). I had my very first book published in May of 1999 while I was in the middle of getting my Ph.D. (again in science). That book, The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan, was published electronically with one of the first ebook publishers, so I’ve been in the ebook world my entire career—15 years now! (That’s a little shocking when I stop to think about it.)


What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?

I have to say I adore writing epic fantasy and science fiction romance because I have so much freedom to make things up! LOL. I love love making things up—settings, backgrounds, planets, geography, political situations, people. Having the freedom to make everything the way I want it to be is really fun. And yes, even in science fiction a lot of it is purely made up because there’s that keyword “fiction” in there. Oh and I love writing romance because of the chemistry and complications that come from two people trying to be in love despite the odds. One of these days, I’m going to try my hand at non-romantic science fiction—though even as I say that I can’t imagine I’ll leave out romance all together. Just maybe make the romance not such a huge part of the story. I have a few ideas down this road that would be really cool to write, so we’ll see. I have had a couple of thriller ideas I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at as well. Oh and then there’s the middle grade series idea I’m mulling over. So…yeah, there’s a lot of stuff I’d like to write. *g*


Do you prefer to write short stories, novellas or novels? Why?

All lengths! Each one is a different discipline and requires a different structure and story development. I adore writing shorter works because they’re done faster and you get to that satisfied “the end” point a lot quicker. But then novels give so much room to explore a plot. So I like it all. If it’s storytelling, I’m there.


Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon. 

So, when I started writing, (way back in the day) all fantasies were trilogies or series. I promised myself I would write standalones and not force readers to have to pick up multiple books to finally get to “the end”. Then the first thing I went and did in novel length was write a trilogy—BUT each book was essentially a standalone story and the first book never even got published because, well it was the very first novel I ever wrote and it would need a lot of work before being presented to readers.

As I wrote more, I kept intending to write standalones, yet they all took place in worlds big enough they could easily be turned into series. Until the last few years, though, I never actually went with that potential and expanded any of my books into a series. Not that I didn’t want to, I just kept chasing the new shiny idea and never getting back to the second books.

Finally, I published a sequel to my very first published novel (this is in The Naravan Chronicles series) and now with The Darkness of Glengowyn and later in the summer Warrior’s Dawn (book #3 in the Fire and Tears series), I’m officially writing series books. For a world-builder like me, series writing is soooo much fun, too, because I get to keep expanding on the world I’ve already built. I’m considering more in The Naravan Chronicles after I finish up with the third book (there’s just too much potential!) and I have plans for at least 1 to 3 more books in the Fire and Tears series. Stay tuned.

Thanks again for having me here, today! This was a fun interview.

My pleasure, Isabo! Wishing you much success always. 

Excerpt


Nuala stared at Einar for a few more minutes, caught by his intensity. To escape, she glanced down at his injured arm. “I can wrap that for you.” She gestured to the wound.

He gave it a cursory glance. “It’s only a scratch.”

“But neither of us can afford to have you weakened.” She spun in a slow circle, then started opening doors. When she found a room that contained a couch, she led him inside. “Sit,” she ordered.

Without supplies, her only option for binding the wound was the hem of her riding robe. “Your knife.” She held out a hand without looking at him and pulled up the long length of material.

“It’s not necessary.”

“Don’t argue.” She wiggled her fingers, still focused on the material in her hand. His presence threw her off balance and looking directly at him made it worse. They hadn’t spent this much time together, alone and in close proximity, since…

She didn’t want to think about the last time.

After the knife hilt settled gently into her palm, she sliced a few lengths of silk along the split front hem of the robe. It would leave a wider V in the front, but since they had to travel quickly, she was considering cutting off the length completely anyway. Once the sun set, the early autumn nights were too cold to get rid of the over-robe altogether. It was designed to allow easy, free movement, with slits in front and back so she could sit astride her horse without the long material getting in the way. It had stayed out of her way during the earlier fight too. But those lengths of material could be put to better use. And the less she had to worry about right now, the better.

Once she had sufficient improvised bandages, she turned to Einar. “Take your tunic off,” she said, her voice as firm and emotionless as she could make it.

She tried not to be affected as he stood, removed his scabbard belt, then slipped his short vest off and dragged his tunic up over his head. Unfortunately, she couldn’t hold back her quickly drawn breath when the magnificent musculature of his chest was revealed in full.

This wasn’t the first time she’d seen him bare-chested, but the sight never ceased to stir her. When she looked up, she found him staring at her, his dark eyes black in the dim light leaking in through grimy windows. She swallowed and focused on his arm. Her heartbeat sped as she drew near enough to feel the heat of his skin and smell the tangy combination of his natural spicy musk mixed with the sweat of battle. With Einar, that combination had always overwhelmed her better judgment, targeting her most desperate desires. Only with him.

Yet another reason she’d spent so many years avoiding him.

Though her pulse pounded in her ears, she concentrated on making her hands steady, her touch gentle. She used one length of material to gently blot the worst of the blood away. Some still seeped slowly from the injury, but not enough to be dangerous. Once she’d gotten the area as clean as possible with a dry cloth, she used another length to tightly bind the wound.

His muscles flexed under her touch, which didn’t help. “Relax,” she ordered, her voice irritatingly husky.

He let out a long, slow exhale that brushed over the top of her head, and his biceps relaxed. She noticed at a glance, however, that his stomach muscles were tightly clenched. When she risked a peek at his face, his jaw was also tight, and he stared at the wall across from where they stood.

She turned back to her work, knowing she shouldn’t have risked this kind of proximity for this long. Einar had more power over her body and heart than any other elf. A fact they were both growing more aware of with each passing moment.

When she’d tied off the bandage, satisfied it would do for now, she stepped back and gestured at his leg without actually looking down. “Are you cut or was it just your trousers?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Nothing as in no blood, or nothing as in you don’t wish me to bandage the wound?”

His gaze jumped from the wall to her and she took another involuntary step back. Heat, promise, need and something she didn’t want to admit seeing blazed out at her, an arrow right into her heart.

“You made it clear,” he said quietly, “that your magic was not something you could sacrifice. We should not remain this close. And I should not take off any more clothing around you.”

About the Author



Isabo Kelly is the award-winning author of numerous fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romances. Her life has taken her from Las Vegas to Hawaii, where she got her BA in Zoology, back to Vegas where she looked after sharks, then on to Germany and Ireland where she got her Ph.D. in Animal Behavior.

Now Isabo focuses on writing. She lives in New York with her Irish husband, two beautiful boys, and funny dog. She works as a full time author and stay-at-home mom. 

For more on Isabo and her books, visit her at www.isabokelly.com follow her on Twitter @IsaboKelly, or friend her on Facebook and Goodreads

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Rebellious Prince, Reluctant Witch and a Mysterious Prophecy. Prince by Blood & Bone by Jessica Aspen.



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
ISBN: 978-0-9899558-1-2
ASIN: B00JN858RK
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.

Book Description


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.

Excerpt


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.

“Come in.”

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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