A HEAVY CROWN Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king. Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other-that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…
I’m just thrilled and nearly breathless to report that RT Book Reviews gave The Talon of the Hawk a 4.5 Star Top Pick review! The reviewers there are just so incredibly good to this series.
Here’s the review:
“The saga of The Twelve Kingdoms returns in grand style! It takes a great deal of trust for Ursula to accept that Harlan is interested in her as a woman; his position as a mercenary means he’s skilled at playing courtly games. She’s always possessed a physical strength, so it’s beautiful to watch her accept her own personal power, as a woman and as a daughter of Salena, even when her stubbornness gives you fits. Harlan is her perfect match because his talent at observation allows him to see beyond the tough warrior image she employs to avoid showing her feelings. This is a complex world full of danger, subterfuge and secrets with empowering female characters who are not afraid to fight for their future.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars Top Pick
Coincidentally (OR NOT???), I received some fax pages yesterday from my awesome production editor at Kensington, Rebecca Cremonese. She wanted me to see the design and particularly the sword symbol in the line breaks. In celebration of this MAJOR WIN, I thought I’d share them here. Whee!
Yeah, yeah – these are screen shots of a third-generation fax. Good luck making out the text. 😀 Come on – you guys know what a tease I am!
Speaking of teases, you can still register through today for my online workshop on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. You still have time to catch up on the first assignment, because it’s easy. We have a great group – 27 participants at this point – so come join in the conversation!
As the year draws to a close, we’re in the final round of The Hottest Heroine Cover contest. We all know Ursula is the hottest – and not because she has a big-ass sword. And she’s running second to a drowning girl. We can’t have that! You can vote and enter the giveaway or not, as you please.
A serendipitous shot as the setting sun sent rays of light across my desk and lit up the globe that Kensington gave me with the cover of THE MARK OF THE TALA inside. If I’d been thinking, I would have turned it around to show the flip side, with the cover of last week’s release and the sequel, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE. The glow lasted barely long enough for me to grab my phone and snap. Ah well, so goes serendipity.
One of my favorite bits of feedback lately on THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, was when my longtime friend, Kev, commented this on my release day post:
There was an absolutely gorgeous sunrise today. I looked West and the mountains were this perfectly lovely shade of pink against a slightly lighter pink sky. I felt strongly compelled to sketch some circles in the air, but my Lutheran upbringing wouldn’t quite allow it.
If you haven’t read the book yet, that’s a reference to the observances of the goddess Glorianna, which occur ritually at sunrise and sunset, when her circle is drawn in the air. And her color is pink.
There’s something wonderfully invigorating about hearing comments like this, knowing that something you wrote went into another person’s mind deeply enough to invoke this impulse. Even if it wasn’t enough to overcome that childhood programming, alas! Inventing this mythology of the three goddesses came about organically as part of writing the story. I hadn’t anticipated that would even be a factor of the world as I began writing Andi’s story in THE MARK OF THE TALA. While all three goddesses – Glorianna, Moranu and Danu – make an appearance in the first book, in the sequel, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, part of Ami’s journey is finding her place as an avatar of Glorianna. So I ended up exploring the mysticism and influence of the goddesses much more. I even wrote an entire myth!
(As if you have nothing better to do with your life… but the option is there!)
At any rate, playing with this mythology was so fun that I even wrote an extra bit for Jen Twimom’s holiday Mistletoe Madness event on That’s What I’m Talking About. The post is here and is told from Ami’s point of view about their observation of the Feast of Moranu on the winter solstice. That was a kick to write also. I’m sure it contains many familiar elements that you all will recognize, but it still felt special to me.