Today is the release day for EXILE OF THE SEAS!
Around the shifting borders of the Twelve Kingdoms, trade and conflict, danger and adventure put every traveler on guard . . . but some have everything to lose.
Once she was known as Jenna, Imperial Princess of Dasnaria, schooled in graceful dance and comely submission. Until the man her parents married her off to almost killed her with his brutality.
Now, all she knows is that the ship she’s boarded is bound away from her vicious homeland. The warrior woman aboard says Jenna’s skill in dancing might translate into a more lethal ability. Danu’s fighter priestesses will take her in, disguise her as one of their own—and allow her to keep her silence.
But it’s only a matter of time until Jenna’s monster of a husband hunts her down. Her best chance to stay hidden is to hire out as bodyguard to a caravan traveling to a far-off land, home to beasts and people so unfamiliar they seem like part of a fairy tale. But her supposed prowess in combat is a fraud. And sooner or later, Jenna’s flight will end in battle—or betrayal . . .
A special shout-out today to the debut release, DANGEROUS, for my friend Minerva Spencer! She lives in nearby Taos and is an amazing person who’s become a great friend. She is a Vegan for compassionate reasons – most of her earnings goes to feeding her zoo of rescue animals – and has had a remarkable series of careers. She’s owned a bar, a B&B, and has been a lawyer who did pro bono work for asylum applicants. Her interest in history along with her keen intellect and love of romance combine in perfect harmony in this book.
Full disclosure: I read an early version of this book. This can be dicey in the author world – just because you like the person doesn’t mean you’ll like their writing. And this is Minerva’s first book, so I was cautious. Also, while historical romance was my gateway drug to romance, I’ve fallen off of it for quite some time. I’d gotten bored and the subgenre had lost its freshness for me.
To my utter delight, I *loved* it! I loved it so much that I posted a review to Goodreads. Because it was on Goodreads and Minerva hadn’t asked me for a blurb or anything like that, I just raved about how much I liked it, in a chatty, irreverent way.
Shockingly enough, Kensington grabbed my quote and printed on the back of the book.
Just to clarify, it says:
“Georgette Heyer, BUT WITH SEX!”
For those not in the know, Georgette Heyer is one of the great lights of historical romance. She is Austenesque in the exquisite details of the manners she portrays. She is incredible at layering sexual tension into the polite restraints of the eras she sets her stories in. But I can’t read her books because she always closes the door on the actual sex! I end up so frustrated that I can’t stand it. That’s why I was so thrilled to find that Minerva tells a tense, mannered, intelligent story in the same way – but takes me all the way to the hotness I love.
Whew! Is it warm in here?
Anyway, I’m highly amused that, of all my carefully crafted blurbs that I’ve written for fellow authors, it’s THIS irreverent and joyous burble that gets highlighted in all caps.
Says something, doesn’t it?
So, this book is truly wonderful and I advise you to pick it up. You’ll at least be feeding a lot of animals!
Today’s the day!! THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE is free in the wild, something Zynda would greatly approve of. She’s my shapeshifter sorceress heroine, who loves freedom above all else. Until she discovers there’s more to life than that.
I really loved writing Zynda’s story – far more than I expected to. I’m not entirely sure I can explain why, either, except that there was a certain untrammeled freedom to her way of thinking. She’s brutally honest and her time spent as various animals has changed the way she thinks and sees the world. I also totally fell in love with Marskal. I love all of my heroes and heroines, but these two really got under my skin. A phrase Zynda would laugh at.
The early feedback I’m getting confirms that you all feel the same – so woo hoo!!! Reviews are just going up on Amazon, etc., so if you feel like popping one up, I’d greatly appreciate it. 🙂
The links are all live:
The most talented shapeshifter of her generation, Zynda has one love in her life: freedom. The open air above her, the water before her, the sun on her skin or wings or fur-their sensual glories more than make up for her loneliness. She serves the High Queen’s company well, but she can’t trust her allies with her secrets, or the secrets of her people. Best that she should keep her distance, alone.
Except wherever she escapes, Marskal, the Queen’s quiet lieutenant, seems to find her. Solid, stubborn, and disciplined, he’s no more fluid than rock. Yet he knows what she likes, what thrills and unnerves her, when she’s hiding something. His lithe warrior’s body promises pleasure she has gone too long without. But no matter how careful, how tender, how incendiary he is, only Zynda can know the sacrifice she must make for her people’s future-and the time is drawing near…
Hey everyone! I have a special treat for you today. No, not a new fantasy romance from me – though I’m working on it! But my good friend Veronica Scott has taken a break from her stellar science-fiction romances and brought a new fantasy romance into the world for our delighted consumption.
I’m happy to have her guest post here today. Take it away, Veronica!
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Thank you so much for having my as your guest today! And congratulations on the RWA RITA nomination for Pages of the Mind, one of my favorite books.
Before we get to the exclusive excerpt, a bit of background about my new release, The Captive Shifter (Magic of Claddare Book 1. This novel is my first foray into writing fantasy romance, featuring witches and shifters in an alternate world. I actually wrote the kernel of the story back in 2010, as my first attempt to sit down and seriously aim for publication, versus ‘just’ telling stories for myself and my family to enjoy. Along the way, I got sidetracked from this manuscript by a submission call from Carina Press for romances set in the ancient world and ended up publishing Priestess of the Nile with them. That book had paranormal and fantasy elements and sent me down a path of writing more stories in the Gods of Egypt series (no relation to the awesomely awful movie of the same name!). At the same time I self-published my first science fiction romance novel and really found a home in the SFR world. So much so I’ve concentrated primarily on that genre ever since, with a few forays to ancient Egypt along the way.
But The Captive Shifter was always there in the back of my mind because I really loved the characters, Kyler the leopard shifter and Caitlyn the witch. Periodically I’d return to working on the story and had sent it to my freelance editors, so by this year it was 90% ready to go. When my current SFR novel experienced schedule delays in editing, I thought this was my perfect moment to finish the final edits on Shifter, get a gorgeous cover from Fiona Jayde and see if readers might enjoy my venture into fantasy romance. I have all kinds of sequels lined up in my head, depending on whether there’s a demand from anyone other than myself to know more about the magical world of Claddare and its people.
Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.
In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?
The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?
The excerpt – Cailyn’s first experience with how magic is practiced in the Witch Queen’s city and how Kyler the Shifter is required to lend his support to the spell casting. As a man, he lies drugged in the center of the altar sands:
The princesses began a new chant, slowly dancing around the altar counterclockwise. Power sparked and flared, spewing purple and red starbursts in the air. The apprentices sang a capella, weaving a counterpoint to the song. Caitlyn mouthed the words, not giving them voice, certainly adding no magic. Hot anger suffused her entire body, watching Kyler used as a source of power for the purposes of others. Her heart hammered in her chest so hard she was amazed no one heard the pounding.
Fists tightly clenched, she closed her eyes, launching a mental search for him in the dreamspace, almost without realizing she’d done it.
The room, the smells and the overpowering chants faded from her consciousness.
She was standing in a small forest clearing. Long tail thrashing side to side, an agitated leopard paced at the far side of the glade. The huge cat raised its head and yowled, then resumed patrolling the tree line. Apparently scenting her arrival, the leopard spun, hunkering close to the ground, snarling, the great green eyes locked on her.
Caitlyn retreated one instinctive step as the cat stalked her, belly low to the ground.
“Kyler,” she said barely above a whisper. The cat paused for a moment, ears twitching before creeping closer. Trying to master her fear, Caitlyn shut her eyes, despite the predator stalking her. I don’t need to be afraid of Kyler. Having gotten her emotions under control, she opened her eyes to find the leopard crouched at her feet, gazing at her. She reached out with one shaking hand and the cat pushed to meet her fingers, positioning its head for her to rub. She scratched behind one black velvet ear and under the chin, rewarded by a rumbling purr.
A storm raged in the forest and lightning flashed in the skies. Winds howled through the trees over her head but no breeze wafted through the clearing, no rain fell. The ground shook with a particularly loud blast of thunder. Ears flattened, the leopard snarled at the sky, prowling away from Caitlyn as if seeking escape, yet always circling to her side sooner or later. Finally, the beast flung itself on the mossy earth, panting.
She knelt beside him, stroking the velvet ears. Caitlyn murmured comforting words while the leopard closed its eyes and burrowed closer to her, laying his head in her lap, wrapping the great forepaws around her, deadly claws sheathed.
She realized he was shivering. Small growls worked their way from his throat.
“You’re not alone, I’m here,” she said quietly. She continued to stroke the cat’s plush fur, admiring the velvet spots in the pale gray coat, tracing them with her fingertip. She kept one eye on the lightning and the swirls of power filling the air. After each crash of thunder the edge of the clearing shrunk closer.
“Queen Margred takes too much,” Caitlyn said, enraged beyond all reason on his behalf. “You’ll die if she keeps this up.” She gazed into the leopard’s glowing emerald eyes. The cat blinked first. “No spell of hers is worth your death.”
There was an iridescent shimmer in the air, like a thousand dragonfly wings, and vibration under her hands. She watched as the leopard faded, shifted, changed—until the man lay on his side, with his head in her lap and his arms curled to hold her in a tight embrace.
“I don’t care if she kills me,” he said, flat, cold. “At least then my captivity will end. Death equals freedom.”
Caitlyn didn’t know what to say to such despair.
I don’t do pre-orders (because I’ve heard too many horror stories) but you can sign up for my newsletter or follow the blog, follow me on Amazon – but you can be sure I’ll be tweeting and talking about the novel on social media when it’s available! I won’t be keeping it a secret LOL. The book will be available on all major ebook retail sites as of April 3rd and the buy links will be added to this post on my blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/cover-reveal-the-captive-shifter/
Author Bio and Links:
Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
Also, I’m feeling like it’s a serendipitous day (maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket??) because RT Book Reviews announced that THE PAGES OF THE MIND was nominated for Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 in their Reviewers Choice Awards!!!
I’m particularly pleased to be sharing that honor with two friends who also write books I adore – Grace Draven and Thea Harrison. (CS Pacat was also nominated for the final book in her Captive Prince trilogy, but I haven’t read or met her.)
Very excited to be listed with these gals!
Finally, I’m over at Suzanne Johnson’s blog, talking about *cough* when to end a series. Which I clearly don’t know much about…
At last – it’s release day for THE TIDES OF BARA! The next installment in Lonen and Oria’s epic tale is here!
I have a somewhat sheepish confession to make. You can gaze on this gorgeous cover by Louisa Gallie to salve your soul while you brace yourself. I’ll wait.
(It really is a pretty cover, isn’t it?)
Okay, okay – head on over to Here Be Magic to read the rest.
TEETH, LONG AND SHARP is out and doing quite well! So fun for me to see my pic next to my darling friend, Grace Draven, along with those lovely rankings. (The other authors are working on getting their pics up, too.)
Thanks to everyone for buying this collection! I hope it tickles your short hairs in just the right way. I haven’t read the other stories yet, but plan to spend some delicious time doing so this weekend. If you’d like to do the same, the buy links are here!
Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe and warm and have what you need. Duck those hurricanes!
I have a new book in a new series out today!
At long last, THE PAGES OF THE MIND is out in the world!!
That was a long stretch, huh?
Sometimes it works out that way. Because this book and the next, THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, were part of the second contract I signed with my publisher, this series got bumped out a full year from the previous novel, THE TALON OF THE HAWK.
I hope the long wait was worth it!
So far, it seems like yes. This book is selling gangbusters and you’ve all been *awesome* about posting those reviews thick and fast. I love that you all embrace Dafne’s story like family. It’s one of the best parts of writing these stories.
Plus I’m amused by the debates over whose story should come next. I’m contemplating what direction to take after Jepp & Kral’s story in THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, so now is a good time to chime in with your wishlist! I’m totally taking notes, as there’s several paths open in the overall arc to my mind.
Another cool aspect of having you all *finally* get to read this book, is hearing the reactions. I’m fascinated by who chooses which book, which hero and which heroine as their favorite. There’s so much variety! And each book is difficult in its own way to write. I don’t blog regularly about my process because it’s so up and down. One day I’ll be thrilled with how well it’s going and the next I’ll be convinced THIS is the book that will ruin my career. My close friends and critique partners (CPs) have gotten quite good at weathering my despair moments – which can last a week or two, quite frankly. They’ve learned to tell me, “Jeffe, you always do this. Just keep writing.”
With PAGES, I got all the way to the second volcano scene – if you’ve read, you know the one I mean – when I abruptly panicked, quite sure that the book was All Wrong and I needed to go back and… I dunno. Start from the beginning? Scrap it entirely?? I even briefly entertained that Kral was meant to be Dafne’s true love, until my editor gently but firmly informed me that I was Not Allowed To Do That.
And in retrospect… yeah.
So I made my CPs read it at that point and tell me if it sucked. Instead they all said, “how dare you stop there – keep going, dammit!”
Which really helped.
At any rate, this story was a big departure for me. The title of the next phase of this series, The Uncharted Realms (my editor’s idea), turned out to be strangely prescient. I’m not usually much into fated mates, but this story insisted. I worried to death that all the gesturing would be too much. I fretted that Nakoa was too impenetrable.
As usual, all that angsting turned out for the best and my CPs were right, as always. It seems I did okay by Dafne, which was hugely important to me. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, here’s all the current buy links!
Thanks ever so much for your love and support.