FIRE OF THE FROST Fantasy Holiday Romance Yumminess

This week at the SFF Seven we’re doing a little winter holiday self-promo! Many of you know we had to push back the release of FIRE OF THE FROST, but it’s coming soooooon! We are on target to release on December 22. So if you are someone who celebrates Christmas, this should hit your eReader just in time to relax and enjoy some holiday downtime. 

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there’s lots of midwinter, romantic holiday goodness for you, too! Only Amanda’s story is literally Christmas. Everyone else’s is a fantasy midwinter holiday. Mine includes a magical sleigh race and elemental festive lights. It’s a story that takes place in the Bonds of Magic world, roughly after DARK WIZARD and semi-concurrent with BRIGHT FAMILIAR. It takes place at Convocation Academy and you just miiiiigght see some of the characters in GREY MAGIC.

The delay means you have just that much longer to preorder the anthology for the special preorder price, before it goes up on release day.

Here’s the official (still in progress) blurb:

A midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology…

From Darynda Jones, a standalone novella set in a world where vampyres are hunted for sport. The only thing standing between them and total annihilation is Winter, a warrior bred to save them from extinction. Forbidden to fall in love, Winter cares only about her oaths… until she meets the devilish prince of the underworld.

Of Fate and Fire by Amanda Bouchet

The Kingmaker Chronicles meets modern-day New York City! Piers, an exiled warrior from Thalyria, finds himself in the Big Apple just before the holidays. The world and everything in it might be utterly foreign to him, but that won’t stop Piers from helping to complete a vital mission for Athena and protect Sophie, a French teacher from Connecticut who’s suddenly knee-deep in inexplicable phenomena, danger, and henchmen after an Olympian treasure that should never have ended up in her hands—or remained on Earth after the Greek gods abandoned it.

The King of Hel by Grace Draven

A novella-length expansion of a stand-alone short story in which a cursed mage-king from a frozen kingdom is obligated to marry a woman of high-ranking nobility but meets his soulmate in a lowly scribe.

Familiar Winter Magic by Jeffe Kennedy

It’s holiday time at Convocation Academy, but best friends Han and Iliana are finding it hard to celebrate. As a familiar, Iliana is facing her assignment to a life of servitude to a wizard, very soon. And Han… despite being tested by the oracle daily, he is still uncategorized. As Iliana and Han face being separated forever, they at last find the courage—or desperation—to break the rules and acknowledge their deeper feelings for each other. But it will take more than true love to save them from the laws of the Convocation…

 And here’s a little snippet from my story, Familiar Winter Magic:

Once the races finished, Iliana let Han talk her into more dancing. With the excellent whiskey warming her blood, not to mention the heady glow of Han’s undivided attention, she could hardly resist. She loved him so much and he was right: this was their last Founding Festival together. Rather than try to hold him at arm’s length, in anticipation of their imminent parting, she decided to enjoy his company while she could.

Han at his most charming was impossible to refuse. Which would be a major problem when he manifested as a wizard, but she wouldn’t think about that tonight. Since it was a holiday, the thought-seekers gave everyone a break—and were celebrating themselves. The festival was a rare excuse for everyone to loosen up.

A little bit tipsy, the lights and dancing making her feel giddy, she danced with Han until she was so warm she had to shed her cloak. Among his many skills, Han was also an excellent dancer—far better than she, but he was so skilled that he made his partner look good—and they found themselves more than once in a circle of cheering spectators as he whirled her through the vigorous dances.

Then the music slowed, and she fanned herself, blowing out a breath, and headed off the dance floor. Han caught her hand. “Hey, where are you going?” Expertly he twirled her under his arm, then snugged her close, a hand on the small of her back as he led her through the dreamy rhythm.

Iliana braced one hand on Han’s chest, his heart thumping rapidly beneath her fingertips, his blue eyes lambent in the starry light. “We never dance the slow dances,” she breathed.

“A grievous lapse of judgment on my part,” he murmured, gaze traveling over her face. “You feel perfect in my arms, lovely Iliana. I want you here forever.”

She tore her gaze from his heartbreakingly beautiful face, focusing on his throat instead. That wasn’t much help, as his skin begged to be kissed and nibbled. “I don’t understand what’s changed between us, why you’re being so…”

“Seductive?” he suggested in a warm purr. “Devastatingly handsome and charming?”

Snorting, she made a face at him. “Aggressive. And annoyingly persistent.”

 

GREY MAGIC Postponed Release

Hi all! If you follow my podcast or blog, you already know this, but I’m having to postpone the release of Bonds of Magic #3, GREY MAGIC. Many apologies, but it has to be done, alas. I’m predicting that the new release date will be February 15, 2022. Possibly sooner, but not later. I’m changing the release date to 2/15/22 everywhere *except* on Amazon, who will only let me push it to 30 days out. If you preordered on Amazon (thank you!!!), you’ll get a notice saying the new release date is January 19. I might be able to push it out again right away, or I might have to wait. We shall see! At any rate, thank you for your patience and understanding.

FIRE OF THE FROST Cover Reveal!

Cover reveal!!!

I’m super excited to share the cover for FIRE OF THE FROST! Out December 2, 2021, this midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology includes stories from the fabulous Darynda Jones, Amanda Bouchet, Grace Draven and myself. You can preorder the ebook now from all the major retailers (iBooks coming soon) and the print preorder through my webstore. (There will be print available from the other retailers eventually, but not until release day.)

   

From Darynda Jones, a standalone novella set in a world where vampyres are hunted for sport. The only thing standing between them and total annihilation is Winter, a warrior bred to save them from extinction. Forbidden to fall in love, Winter cares only about her oaths… until she meets the devilish prince of the underworld.
Amanda Bouchet transports The Kingmaker Chronicles to modern-day New York City. An exiled warrior finds himself in the Big Apple just before the holidays. On a vital mission for Athena, he meets an imperiled French teacher from Connecticut, and soon they’re knee-deep in inexplicable phenomena.
Grace Draven brings a novella-length expansion of a stand-alone short story in which a cursed mage-king from a frozen kingdom is obligated to marry a woman of high-ranking nobility but meets his soulmate in a lowly scribe.
From Jeffe Kennedy comes a standalone novella in the Dark Wizard world, where an ancient holiday is resurrected and clandestine lovers find the courage to pursue forbidden joy.

 

   

This week at the SFF Seven our topic is: Before Chapter One. We’re asking each other, “What do you have in place before you start drafting? Inspiration board? Top-level plot bullets? Full outline? Flushed out Character Profiles? Etc.”

This is kind of funny for me to answer today because I’m starting Chapter One on the novella for this anthology. And yes, it will be Chapter One, because I’m a linear writer. What do I know about the story at this point? I know this:

It’s set in my Dark Wizard world (Bonds of Magic), where an ancient holiday is resurrected and clandestine lovers find the courage to pursue forbidden joy.

Heh. I had to figure out that much so I had something to say for the reveal.

At least I know the world? That’s because I’ve already written and published the first two books in the Bonds of Magic series, DARK WIZARD and BRIGHT FAMILIAR. My as-yet-untitled story in FIRE OF THE FROST occurs away from the protagonists of the main arc, but I don’t know yet who the characters will be. This is a departure for me as I start with character 99% of the time. So, this will be interesting!

But my short answer to the question is: nothing. Pretty much all I have before I start drafting is a twinkle in my eye, as it were.

Let it shine, baby. Let it shine!

Jeffe’s Stupid Human Trick

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is “Stupid people tricks – what’s something you know how to do?”

I feel I should qualify that that “stupid” in this topic is intended to modify the tricks, not the people. That said, want to know what mine is? Come on over to find out!

Meanwhile, in the Happy Human Tricks Department, I’ve been loving the reception for BRIGHT FAMILIAR, which released on Friday. This was the best Amazon ranking I saw, but the book has been sitting pretty in the Top 100 of all its subcategories all weekend. Hooray!

I’m way prouder of this than the cherry stem Thing.

Updates on My Release Schedule!

BRIGHT FAMILIAR releases on Friday!! I’m super excited not only because I got the book done in time – whew! – and not only because I have over 1,000 preorders on Amazon for this book and still climbing – a personal record! – but because early reader-reviewers are saying such wonderful things about it. My heart and cup runneth over, for sure. You all are amazing in your love for this series. If you haven’t preordered yet and want to, you still can 🙂

Some of you have been asking about my release schedule for both this series and Heirs of Magic. The obsessive fans alert among you have noticed that my release date for THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING has drifted into 2022. And GREY MAGIC, sequel to BRIGHT FAMILIAR , is coming out at the end of December. The reason for the release date drift is that I’m wedging in a novella for another midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology! Everyone is still figuring out if they can fit it into their writing schedules, so I won’t tell you the participants yet. But as soon as I know, you’ll be hearing about it! Worse comes to worst, we pull the plug on the anthology and all of these release dates move up.
Here is my current plan (italics indicate tentative dates):

 

THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE (Heirs of Magic 3) 9/13/2021

holiday novella 11/15/2021
GREY MAGIC (Bonds of Magic 3) 12/20/2021
THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING
(Heirs of Magic 4) 2/22/2022

Finally, in case you missed it, THE LONG NIGHT OF THE CRYSTALLINE MOON, the prequel story to Heirs of Magic, previously only available in the UNDER A WINTER SKY anthology, is now available as a standalone.