Tag Archives: romance

Ten Things from Summer 2014 (#movies #books)

My thoughts on ten things I watched or read this summer:

  1. The Lunch Box
  2. Outlander
  3. Snowpiercer
  4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. The Giver
  7. Noah
  8. The Firebird
  9. Lucy
  10. Me Before You

The Lunch Box

This mixed-up lunch box story involves India’s dabbawallas, the men who pick up hot lunch from home and deliver them to office workers. I was nearly as fascinated by the dabbawallas as I was infatuated with the movie. And I’m not the only one. Apparently, others have been interested in the process by which the dabbawallas deliver hundreds of thousands of lunchboxes daily with very few mistakes or delays. But don’t watch the movie just to see the dabbawallas! Watch it for the wonderful characters: a lonely, unappreciated housewife who cooks amazing food, a cantankerous, soon-to-retire office worker, and his genial replacement.

Outlander

Who else is watching this series on Starz? I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried it might be too much Lifetime and not enough HBO, but I was pleasantly surprised by Episode 1 and now, after six episodes, I’m firmly entrenched. I read the books years ago so it’s been fun returning to the story and seeing how it’s being told on screen. Tobias Menzies as Frank/Jack Randall (remember him from Rome and GoT?) and Graham McTavish as Dougal (in truth, I did not remember him from The Hobbit) have been doing a terrific job. And Claire and Jamie (Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan), if not looking exactly as I imagined them, are skilled actors with great chemistry. And I loved the author’s cameo in Episode 4!

Snowpiercer

I loved this movie. Yes, it’s gory and violent and bloody. And, yes, it strains credulity (there’s steak up front; where are the cows?!) and, yes, there are a few things not to like about the MC (well, one thing in particular). But it sticks with you. It’s unique and memorable, as much for the story – admirable these days since post-apocalyptic stories seem to be everywhere ;-) – as for the juxtaposition of scenes and characters (gruesomely dark and wet ax fights; kids singing over-the-top propaganda songs inside a surreally calm and disturbingly charming classroom car; Tilda Swinton as a vile, deranged second-in-command; Octavia Spencer as a vengeful mother on a search and rescue mission; and Chris Evans as oh-so-conflicted Curtis).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I wanted to love it. I really enjoyed the first one, despite the fact that I didn’t think the franchise needed a reboot. But 2 didn’t wow me. It wasn’t the ending, it was the fact that the relationship between Gwen and Spidey before the end didn’t seem as fun as it did in the first movie and the villains were kind of meh. I’m still planning on seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but only because Spidey is one of my favorite superheroes and I like Andrew Garfield. I think if everything around him comes together it could be great fun.

Guardians of the Galaxy

All the fun that was missing from Spidey 2. Word seems to be that this was everyone’s favorite summer ’14 film. Yeah. What they said. And for good reason. Mostly, the cast. I was largely unfamiliar with Chris Pratt before the film. I don’t watch Parks and Rec, I didn’t see Her, and, even though I saw Moneyball, I don’t remember his character. But he was terrific in Guardians! I read an Entertainment Weekly article before the movie that detailed his career to date. He sounded genuine and grounded. His portrayal of Peter Quill made the movie for me. And, of course, I loved Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket too. My kids loved Groot.

The Giver

I didn’t read the book. My older daughter did though and it was interesting hearing her take on how the book and the movie were different – namely, and among other things, that the movie’s characters were older and its ending less ambiguous. I found myself wondering if the novel’s vague ending was a subtle message and, if so, what that message might be. Ambiguous endings can be more powerful and achieve a more lasting impact because readers love to argue about them. Regardless of her original intent with respect to The Giver’s ending though, Lowry’s now written three other books that provide definitive closure.

Noah

I put this off for a while even though the trailer looked great and reviews were positive because I worried that it might be The Fountain meets Evan Almighty. But it wasn’t. If you are on the fence about this movie, rent it. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly had already proved they worked well together in A Beautiful Mind and adding Emma Watson to the mix definitely cinched it. They all delivered emotional, compelling performances. The special effects and visuals were fantastic and the filmmakers’ take on one of our oldest stories (especially the watchers, a fanciful bit of storytelling) was interesting.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The story of modern-day Nicola who has the gift of psychometry (she can sense an object’s history by touching it) interwoven with the story of Anna, a young Scottish woman living in Russia during the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite Uprising. I love parallel timeline plots when they are done well (Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth and Katherine Neville’s The Eight come to mind) so I very much enjoyed this. Two romances, historical detail, and a bit of ESP = an irresistible combination. I will definitely be searching for other Kearsley titles in the future!

Lucy by Laurence Gonzales

Last month, I promised to talk more about this. At the time, I wanted to see the movie so that I could compare and contrast it with the book, even though they are two entirely different stories. But I never made it to the theater. (I see very few R rated movies in the theater because I can’t bring my kids). In any case, my theory, which I’ll have to test later, is that the book and the movie share a similar title because each is about an evolutionarily advanced girl/woman and Lucy is a reference to “Lucy” our oldest human ancestor, the first Australopithecus afarensis skeleton ever found. [Incidentally – and as a wonderful example of how art can impact science deeply and directly – the Australopithecus afarensis skeleton was named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”]

So what about the book? If you like social science fiction, read it. It’s the story of a girl who is half-human, half-bonobo, which to someone like me (who spends lots of time in a fictional world inhabited by all sorts of shapeshifters and human hybrids) doesn’t sound too outlandish. But the story initially appealed to me because it wasn’t fantasy. It’s billed as a Crichton-esque “biotechnical thriller.” And the book jacket copy describing the fifteen year old “adorable, lovely, magical Lucy” made me curious. I was worried about what would happen to her before I even started reading her story.

The two best parts of the book for me were the character’s relationships (more time is spent on these than on the scientific aspects, which suited me fine but may disappoint others) and the author’s idea of The Stream (his term for the whole ecosystem of living things and their observable and imperceptible, though real, effects on that ecosystem and other living things within it).

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I saved this one for last because it was the toughest one for me to gather my thoughts on. Initially, I downloaded this book because I was simply looking for a nice, warm emotional romance – one I could read in 24 hours and would, by and large, likely forget about 48 hours later. [As an aside, this is not a criticism of stories that can be consumed quickly or are forgotten easily; there’s an art to crafting them too – just because a story’s easy to read doesn’t mean it’s easy to write]. But Me Before You *isn’t* that kind of story. Parts of it are nice, warm, emotional, and romantic. But the book is a lot more than that and it’s not easily forgotten. Nor should it be.

It’s the story of a 26-year-old woman (Lou) who’s a little lost. At the start of the book, she’s living with her parents, she’s in a so-so relationship, and she’s lost her job. It wasn’t a glamorous or high paying job but it was one she enjoyed and its loss propels her in search of another. She finds one caring for a 35-year-old quadriplegic (Will) who’s not lost (he knows all too well what he wants). He’s rich and handsome… a former business tycoon and lady charmer who is now at times angry, withdrawn, or resigned.

SPOILERS… don’t read ahead if you want to read it and don’t like spoilers…

Before reading Me Before You I’d never heard of DIGNITAS, the Swiss right-to-die organization. And then, the day after I finished it, CNN ran this article. And then, the next week, a very close friend of mine had a family member take her own life. She wasn’t quadriplegic, but she was dealing with issues that were just as serious as Will’s. So I’ve been thinking, on and off nearly every day since I read Me Before You not just about the dignity of life, but the dignity of death. Is it a happy topic? No, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. It’s a huge, meaningful topic. A blog post can’t do it justice. So, for now, I’ll simply say that Jojo Moyes’ book should be read – as much for the author’s thoughtful portrayal of Will and his struggles as for the author’s down-to-earth and at times truly humorous take on Lou and Lou’s life.

Have any of you watched or read any of the above? If so, what did you think? If not, are you watching or reading anything worth sharing? Let me know in the comments! I hope everyone’s September is off to a great start.


Jeffe Kennedy: The Future of Fantasy Romance

Jeffe Kennedy’s third book in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy releases today. She’s here to chat about the fantasy romance genre and share a bit about her new book, Rogue’s Paradise. Welcome, Jeffe!

“It’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in”

Thanks to Jill for hosting me today, on the release day of Rogue’s Paradise!

Jill and I are both members of RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special interest chapter (FFP). We’ve been having a lively discussion on our chapter loop lately about genre and how to categorize our own books.

This kind of question comes up fairly frequently, particularly from newer writers wondering how to describe their books in query letters or in choosing genre categories in self-publishing. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in. We generally write the stories and THEN figure out what to call it. Jill also writes what she calls “genre-bending fantasy.”

That said, it’s interesting to me to have this trilogy culminate at a time when the genre, Fantasy Romance, is considered “hot.” At the risk of sounding like I’m groaning out an old, sad tale about walking to school in hip-deep snow, uphill, both ways , when I wrote the first book, Rogue’s Pawn, Fantasy Romance wasn’t really a genre. Certainly not one I was aware of.

I know this because for a long time, I shopped that book as Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. And it was politely explained to me (sometimes less so, as one agent sent me away in tears) that it was neither. When Carina Press bought the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, they called it Fantasy Romance. I swear that was the first time I was aware of the genre, though I had been reading other books classified that way. Rogue’s Pawn was only the tenth book at Carina to be published in that genre, in July of 2012, just over two years after Carina launched their first books.

Now, with Rogue’s Possession, the second book in the trilogy, finaling in FFP’s PRISM contest (though as Fantasy – even WE don’t recognize Fantasy Romance as a separate category yet!), and Rogue’s Paradise coming out today, I often hear my Covenant of Thorns trilogy cited as “classic” fantasy romance. Or, at least, as a solid example of the genre.

In our discussions on the FFP loop, I described myself as an interdimensional being who straddles genres, (we get to talk that way in FFP) especially since my other current trilogy is called Fantasy. One of our other members suggested the term “interstitial genres” – which, if you know biology, is a great choice. It would be interesting to trace the history of which books were first dubbed “Fantasy Romance.” Amusingly the Wikipedia link for Fantasy Romance redirects to Romantic Fantasy (last updated August 2014) – not the same thing at all.

At any rate, it’s so fun to have this trilogy culminate at this time, with so many wonderful writers doing great things with fantasy stories in all types of settings and romantic flavors.

It feels like a big party.

~throws confetti~

~twirls~

Jill’s Thoughts:

Every time these discussions come up about subgenre definition, I think of the last scene from Back to the Future when Doc says, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” lol.

Ah, if only it were that simple.

 I’m always tempted to call the Noon Onyx books “Fantasy” (which is what the spine says they are) and be done with it, but I also know it’s important to give readers information to help them decide if they want to read a book. And the fewer words a writer uses to do that, the better. So labels and genre definitions can be helpful. But they can also be limiting and misleading.

My books are genre mutts, full of fantasy (they’re set in an imaginary world), urban fantasy (the focus of the stories is the main character, a magic-wielding woman), and romance elements (there are several suitors and lots of emotion and inner conflict regarding Noon’s relationships). And, because the stories are written in the youthful, first person voice of a twenty-something postgrad, I even played around with the New Adult label. Plus each book in the series has drawn from the well of these other genres: mystery, adventure/quest, and legal thriller. Gah! See why I want to call up Doc and borrow his DeLorean?

Jeffe mentioned these discussions regarding subgenre definition come up fairly frequently among writers. Yep, too true. But, even though I joke about calling up Doc, I love discussing this stuff. In fact, just last week I was swapping emails with some of the writers who will be doing the Dark Fantasy Panel with me at the upcoming Baltimore Book Fest. Betcha can guess what one of the things we were discussing was. Yep, the future of dark fantasy and what the heck that label is supposed to mean. :-D

More About Rogue’s Paradise

Rogue's ParadisePregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.

The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?

Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

 More About Jeffe

Jeffe KennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

What sort of stories do you think of when you hear the term “fantasy romance”? Have you read any books that would fit that description? In addition to Jeffe’s Covenant of Thorns trilogy, two authors to try might be C.L. Wilson and Amy Raby.

Congratulations and best wishes, Jeffe. Thank you for guest blogging today!

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C.L. Wilson: Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing

Bestselling fantasy author C.L. Wilson is wrapping up her blog tour for THE WINTER KING, her newest fantasy romance. I met Ms. Wilson years ago at a writer’s conference before I was published. We only chatted for a few minutes, but I remember how nice she was. And how terrific her books sounded. So I’m very happy to host her for her last stop where she shares ten of the things she’s learned since she started writing. She’s also offering a tour-wide giveaway: one copy of her book and a winter white rose snow globe pendant (pictured below; U.S. only). Welcome, C.L.!

The Winter King, C.L. Wilson, fantasy, romance

Ten Things I’ve Learned

Since I Started Writing

by C.L. Wilson

I penned (or, rather, penciled) my first story at age 5-6, completed and submitted my first novel at 21, joined RWA in the late ‘80’s, early 90’s, and sold my first book in 2006 (published in 2007).  Since 2007, I’ve hit the USA Today, NY Times, Publisher’s Weekly, had my (former) publisher go bankrupt and close its doors, seen over half of the US bookstores go out of business, and seen the rise of ebooks and self-publishing totally change the publishing landscape, and returned to publishing after three and a half years away to find everything dramatically different than it was in 2011.

10. Never stop reading. 

Read a lot.  Always.  Love of writing stories begins with love of reading stories, so reading is something writers should make time to do every day. And you should read outside your own genre, too.  This is important.  It’s something I often forget, simply because I love reading the genres I write most of all, but reading outside your own genre is akin to thinking outside the box.  You’ll never know what is going to spark that next unique idea, so broadening your reading horizons is a great way to prep your brain for making interesting new leaps and connections! Now, with ebooks, I have an extensive library that is always with me on my cell phone, iPad, and Nook.

9. Build a Circle of (Writer) Friends.

No one understands the ups and downs of being a writer as much as other writers.  No one can help you celebrate the successes and get through the downturns like other writers.  I have a close, tight-knit circle of writer friends—my BFFs—with whom I share everything.  I wouldn’t be published without them.  We brainstorm, help each other when we’re stuck, laugh, cry, support each other when our books come out, and generally act as confidant, safety net, cheer squad, commiseration crew, and all-around besties for one another.  My life is so much richer for having this circle of friends in it.

8. Learn how long it takes you to write a book BEFORE you sell one. 

I wish I’d learned this before I sold, but between the day job, family, and the constant shuffling of priorities, I didn’t know.  I still don’t.  I’m getting better at it though.  One way to estimate is to track your word count every time you write.  Figure out about how many words you write per hour on average, and how many hours per week you write on average.  That will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to write a rough draft of say, 100,000 words. (or 150,000 in my case!)

7. Learn to call for help when you get stuck. (See Circle of Friends above). 

For me, I can get (and have gotten) stuck for weeks, even months at a time, and you can’t afford to do that while under deadline, so you need to set a time limit on the “I can figure this out myself” part of your “writer’s block” and call in reinforcements when needed.  A few minutes on the phone with a friend, a few probing questions about plot, character motivation, etc., and even if the friend doesn’t come up with the answer, her questions help you figure it out yourself!

6. Keep learning.

No matter how much you know about writing, about publishing about anything, there’s always something new to learn.  Keep asking questions, keep listening, keeping learning about the craft and the industry.

5. Remember, once you’re published, writing is a business, and you are the business owner!

As much as I wish I could just write a book and forget about the rest, that’s not how being a published author works.  You need to learn how the publishing business works.  You need to learn how to promote your work (and that includes how NOT to promote your work).  You need to understand how to read contracts so you know what you’re signing. (Having an agent helps a lot for contracts and negotiations, but at the end of the day, it’s your name on the contract, not hers.)  Once you’re published, writing can’t be that thing you do when the muse strikes.  It has to be that thing you do even when you have to drag your muse kicking and screaming out of whatever fluffy, warm bed she’s snuggled into to hibernate!

4. Keep the day job!

Contrary to popular opinion, most published authors don’t make enough money from their work to live on.  Even being a New York Times bestseller doesn’t guarantee you’re pulling down a six-figure or even a high-five-digit salary (especially these days).  And with print publishing, royalties are paid out over the course of three or more years, not months.  My college writing professors told me that only approximately 30% of all authors support themselves on their writing.  I’m not sure what the statistics are today, but I don’t think things have changed that much.

3. Understand that no matter how great your book is, someone out there is going to hate it. 

And they’re going to get on the internet and tell everyone who will listen just how awful your darling masterpiece is.  This remains the hardest thing for me.  No matter how many books I have published, or how many people love those books and give it rave reviews, having someone who didn’t love one of my books go online to shred that book to bits…well, it hurts.  So when I see that someone is about to take a butcher knife to my baby, I turn and walk away.  Don’t want to see it.  Can’t let that negativity into my creative space.  I’m hard enough on myself as it is without piling on other people’s criticism to boot.  It does nothing to help my writing and it does a whole lot to hurt it.  So, as my son says, Swerve!

Apart from that, there is one other trick I’ve learned to help put bad reviews in perspective.  I’ve done it many times.  The trick is this: I go to an online bookstore, and pull up one of my all time favorite books (books I think are sheer masterpieces, books that made me swoon, books I’ve read until the pages are falling out).  Then I go to the 1 star reviews for that book and I read them. It helps me realize that no matter how perfect a book is, if enough people read it, somewhere out there, someone is going to despise that book as much as I adore it. Makes no sense to me, but they do.

2. Power Hour really works.

Among my Circle of Friends (see above), there are about 5 of us who get together 3-4 hours of every day to write.  We conference call each other at pre-determined times and report in our starting word counts. (Cell Phones are GREAT for this – but divvy up who is conferencing whom into the call so you don’t run out of minutes) Then the phone goes off, and we write.  During Power Hour, we do not get on Facebook, we do not answer email, we do not text or take phone calls or allow interruptions.  We Write.  At the end of the hour, we conference call back in to report our ending word counts. You’d be shocked how much we get done.   A little friendly competition goes a long way…and so does knowing your friends are counting on you to write with them, even when you’d rather sleep in or read that book that’s calling to you.  Plus we get to chat with our Circle of Friends several times a day, every day, and that is worth my weight in international long distance minutes! (which is to say, a LOT!) Those of us used to working 8-12 hours or more a day are making the same daily word count in 3-4 hours with Power Hours.  Wow.  That leaves us free to spend the rest of the time devoted to my next Lesson I’ve Learned….

1. Make Time for Other Things. 

It’s very easy to let a job you love consume you (especially when you work from home). Refilling the well is a vital activity for every creative person.  Find things away from writing and your computer that relax you, challenge you, make you happy.  Make time for family, friends, and yourself, too!  How can you refill the creative well if you’re constantly draining it dry?

Life is meant for living…so live it!  And love it!  Find your happiness where you can and thank whatever high power you believe in for every glorious new day.

More About The Winter King

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when Falcon, the prince of Summerlea, stole Wynter’s bride and murdered his young brother, Wynter vows vengeance. Calling upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart, he gathers his armies and marches against Summerlea, crushing their armies and spreading icy winter in his wake.

After three long, bitter years of battle, Summerlea is defeated and Wynter comes to the heart of the kingdom to issue his terms for their surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth of love and melt the Ice Heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will turn her out in the ice and snow of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters. All the while, Wynter will enjoy the vengeance of knowing the Summer King will suffer each day without his beloved daughter(s), as Wynter suffers each day without his own beloved brother.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond.

Blamed as a child for the death of her beloved mother, Khamsin Coruscate, the forgotten princess of Summerlea, has spent her life hidden from the world like an embarrassing secret. Dressed in cast-off gowns and left to her own devices, with only the determination of her loyal nursemaid to ensure she receives the education befitting an Heir to the Summer Throne, Khamsin haunts the abandoned towers and gardens of Summerlea’s royal palace, close to her beloved late mother’s treasures, and waits for the day her father will recognize her as a Princess of the Rose. But though she dreams of the valor and sacrifices of ancient Summerlea heroes and pines for paternal love that will never come, Khamsin is no sweet, gentle, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature with a volatile, rebellious temper that is often as reckless and destructive as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

Together will their stormy personalities be able to meld or will their powers destroy not only their love but the whole world?

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Available for purchase at Avon Romance Amazon  BN  Kobo

C.L. Wilson

C.L. Wilson

More About C.L. Wilson

Praised for exceptional worldbuilding and lyric prose, C.L. Wilson’s unique blend of action, romance, and richly-imagined fantasy have endeared her books romance and fantasy readers alike.  Her critically acclaimed novels have regularly appeared on bestseller lists including the USA Today, the New York Times, and Publisher’s Weekly.

When not torturing her characters mercilessly, C.L. enjoys reading, questing through the wilds of the latest Elder Scrolls game and dreaming of a world where Bluebell’s Nutty Chocolate ice cream is a fat burning food.

She can be found online here:

Tour Giveaway

White rose snow globe pendant

“A copy of THE WINTER KING, complete with a gorgeous white rose snow globe pendant reminiscent of the book!”

U.S. only. Click here for the Rafflecopter link. 

The Winter King Banner

Queen of Song and Souls

I know I’ve been unbelievably quiet lately, but I’m also a big believer in C.L. Wilson’s #1 piece of advice (this week, I’m spending lots of time with my family) and her #10 (I finished Laurence Gonzales’ LUCY: realized not long after starting it that, despite some superficial similarities, the book and the movie are two different stories… more on that later). Now I’m debating whether my next book should be another in Wilson’s Tairen Soul series or THE WINTER KING… It’s good to have choices! :-D

Hope everyone else is having a terrific August full of everything fun and/or productive: vacations, reading, writing, family, new places imagined or real… Thank you to C.L. Wilson for guest blogging today!


Goodreads #Giveaway and Other News

Hi all– quick post today to share links to two giveaways that end soon and links to a few new reviews:

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

Goodreads Book Giveaway

White Heart of Justice by Jill Archer

White Heart of Justice

by Jill Archer

Giveaway ends July 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

15 print copies (U.S. only)

If you’ve already bought the book and/or added it on Goodreads, please share the link with friends and followers.

Kings River Life

Review and Giveaway

Kings River Life is “a California magazine with local focus and global appeal.” It has a “Fantasy & Fangs” section that reviews fantasy and horror. Their reviewer recently reviewed WHOJ:

“[T]he journey approaches an epic, mythic level, pitting Noon against puzzles and monsters that can’t be defeated by flat-out attacks. The solutions are ingenious, and they help Noon build power in the magic she spent most of her life trying to hide and deny… Archer builds on the classic journey formula where the prize must be won at a cost.” Terrance McArthur for Kings River Life on White Heart of Justice

KRL is giving away one print copy of WHOJ (U.S. only). Giveaway ends tomorrow. Details on how to enter are here.

Other Wonderful Reviews and Reviewers

The Qwillery

“The chronicles of Noon’s journey to accept her place in her world culminates in a thrilling adventure… unpredictable and thoroughly satisfying… inspired and exhilarating… I loved the introduction of new creatures… [and] I love when an author surprises me. Archer raised my level of appreciation by catching me unawares.” Trinitytwo, reviewer for The Qwillery, on White Heart of Justice

 That’s What I’m Talking About

“[T]he overall story arc… was gripping and intriguing… [Noon's] growth over the course of these books is immense and heartfelt… If you are looking for something different – this alternate realty where the apocalypse has occurred and the demons won – you should really think about picking up the first book, Dark Light of Day and enjoy the journey.” Gikany & Una at That’s What I’m Talking About on White Heart of Justice

 Proud Nerd Book Reviews

“Archer does an excellent job of constructing and explaining the magical system in her world… the “law school” angle is intriguing… The fantasy elements in the story, especially magic and the demons, work extremely well… Anyone who reads fantasy, romance, or especially a combination of the two should thoroughly enjoy Noon’s adventures.” Matthew Cirilli for Proud Nerd Book Reviews on Dark Light of Day

“While Dark Light of Day focused on Noon’s myriad struggles coming to terms with her waning magic and her new life at St. Lucifer’s Law School, Fiery Edge of Steel sweeps Noon to the edges of New Babylonian civilization into the unknown… One of Jill Archer’s greatest strengths is her ability to create unique and intriguing creatures and characters to populate Halja.” Matthew Cirilli for Proud Nerd Book Reviews on Fiery Edge of Steel

Thank you to each of these reviewers for their interest and support! I’m grateful to them for taking the time to read the books, write such thorough and thoughtful reviews, and for sending me the links so that I can share them with you. If you aren’t already following them, please check out their sites.

Readers: I’m also incredibly grateful for your interest, support, ratings, and reviews. If you’ve read White Heart of Justice but haven’t yet posted a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, GoodreadsPowell’s Books, or wherever you hang out online, please consider adding your thoughts and comments! :-D

Best wishes for a terrific weekend, everyone!


Jennifer Harlow Releases the Omnibus Edition of VERITY HART VS THE VAMPYRES (#steampunk)

Happy July, all! To kick off a hot, summery month that’s known for vacations and voracious reading, Jen Harlow’s here with a guest post on how she wrangled her omnibus edition of VERITY HART VS. THE VAMPYRES into shape. Struggling writers who want to know they’re not alone and readers who love to read about all the stuff we pull our hair out over, read on! (There’s also a great giveaway. Details at the end.) Welcome, Jen!

Oh, @%&^

by Jennifer Harlow

She’s done! The weeks of research, the months of writing, the weeks of typing, the month of editing, it’s all done! She is ready to be read by my wonderful Beta testers who will see how splendiferous she is and confirm I am the genius I always knew I was! Huzzah!

Three Weeks Later…

Oh, @%&^. They hated it. They really hated it. They thought the main character was annoying. The male lead was too perfect (meaning no real man would act like that). I kept switching between too much description and too much telling and not showing. The entire first fifty pages were dull and redundant. And the grammar! Oy!

“Didn’t they teach you anything at the baby Ivy college your father and I took out a second mortgage on our house so you could attend?” my mother asked. (Yes, that watching Frat boys play beer pong is not how I want to spend my Friday nights, thank you very much).

Well, did you like anything? Yes. The chapter titles were funny.

Anything else? <long pause>  I liked the character names.

@%&^

What do you do when what you’ve written the first time around isn’t that great? Me, there was vodka and three Real Housewives marathons involved. (Kidding about the vodka.) It’s hard hearing criticism about something that you spent so much time and effort on. When they’re telling me their constructive criticism, I try to put on a brave face while inside I’m considering skewering them with a fireplace poker. (Once again kidding. It was a machete.) Then I watch more Real Housewives, calm down, and think about what they’ve said and the suggestions they give. Like how to make the hero less of an archetype. Make the heroine have faults instead of her being little miss perfect. See how much of the beginning can be cut away without losing the characterization and world building you presented in those pages to get to the action quicker. Use a thesaurus as much as possible. When in doubt, use a comma. Really ask if you need to describe the leaves on all the trees. Then put on your big girl pants and get back to work. (Unless there’s a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on. Love me some Lisa and Yolanda.) With every word on the page ask if this is the best choice. Sound like fun? About as much fun as Andy Cohen has at the Housewives reunions. (I think I have a problem.)

Writing is @%&^#*! hard work. Most of my books have gone through at least five edits before I even present it to my Beta readers. This soul crushing conversation occurred after the sixth edit of the steampunk book I wrote, Verity Hart Vs. The Vampyres. I cut the first chapter entirely, then worked eight hours on the current first chapter, twelve on the second, and so on. My main character went from Cher Horowitz in Clueless to a pretty version of Jane Eyre. Her father constantly threatens to put her away in an asylum, her only friend in the world is her brother, and everyone looks down at her for being a spinster. My hero now smokes, drinks, cusses, and is rude to everyone, including the woman he’s falling in love with. I did more research into the Victorian and modern world, spending hours conceiving ways they could merge in realistic ways. There is more red ink on the pages than black. As it should be. Nothing comes out of the gate perfect, but if you’re smart enough and trust in your skills and vision, it can certainly get pretty darn close.

Publishers are tough, almost as tough as readers. So though it may hurt, and take for-bloody-ever, editing is probably the most important part of writing. I’ve learned that 80% of the time my Beta testers are right. As long as you have the backbone of the story and halfway decent characters with potential, then all is not lost. Most things can be fixed. And when I got those notes from them, I took some time off, and then revisited Verity and her steampunk world. It took months, and an entire red pen, but I made all the changes and if the early reviews are any indication I succeeded. And after all the hard work and tears, in the end you get this…

steampunk, romance, Jennifer Harlow, Verity Hart

More on Verity Hart Vs. The Vampyres

KEEP CALM AND STEAMPUNK ON

The whole of Victorian London knows there is something not quite right about the Lady Verity Hart. She may be the daughter of an MP and the sister of famed inventor Lord David Hart, but she is a spinster whose own father threatens to send her to the madhouse every fortnight. Because Society is correct-Verity Hart is no lady. If they suspected how quick with a quip she is, let alone the majority of her brother’s ingenious machines were her design, the sale of fainting couches would double.

Verity requires one herself when her beloved brother is kidnapped by vampyres in the dead of night. With the aid of an aggravating, rude American bounty hunter with a secret of his own, Verity takes to land, sea, and even air to rescue the only person who could ever love and truly accept her. Or is he?

Jennifer Harlow

Jennifer Harlow

More on Jennifer Harlow

Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills.

She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad, Midnight Magic Mystery series and The Galilee Falls Trilogy. For the soundtrack to her books and other goodies visit her at her website or find her here:

Giveaway!

Jennifer is giving away 10 ebooks. The giveaway is open to international. To enter the tour-wide giveaway, click here for the Rafflecopter form. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Verity Hart Banner

So how about you? How do you deal with constructive criticism? Me? I’m more of a fan of wine and BBC shows and/or sf movie marathons than vodka and the Real Housewives, but I’m betting we all have our preferred couch therapies. Here’s hoping no one’s laid up anytime soon clutching a glass and a remote! Thank you, Jen, for guest blogging today!


BONESEEKER Author Brynn Chapman: Newton’s Inspiration… It Wasn’t An Apple

Brynn Chapman is here today with a fun post about how her dog inspired one of the minor characters in her recently released YA historical romance/mystery BONESEEKER. There are lots of cute pictures and (tattle) tales of furry pups doing frustrating things + a tour wide giveaway. Details at the end of the post. Enjoy, all! Welcome, Brynn!

Boneseeker Cover

A Tale Involving Sparkles, Fangs… and Fur

I see you are a native Pittsburgher, as am I. Even though you attended Penn State, and I, Pitt—I still wanted to give you something special. I decided to discuss a minor character for this blog visit—minor, but recurring, and vitally important to the BONESEEKER SERIES: Newton, Arabella Holmes’s dog.

[JA: I'm actually headed back to the 'burgh for a visit with my childhood BFF tomorrow. Plan on taking the kids to my old haunts, maybe down to the Point, the Riverwalk... not really sure yet, it's been a LONG TIME since I've been back. :-) ]

Sparkles 1

Four footed, sharp toothed inspiration

Okay so this isn’t precisely Arabella’s dog—said dog in question, however, is the inspiration for Newton. Arabella prefers animals to people. Like her famous father, Arabella…lacks social graces. She prefers animals to homo sapiens. They always love her, never spurn. Bella undertakes the training of her dogs as she does any of her scientific obsessions. To the n-th degree. My dog, Merry, was chosen from a long line of autism dogs. Bred for intelligence, tolerance and loyalty. Now is when I should insert my heartrending story…but I can’t…

I can however introduce you to the insanity that is MERRY. Or as she is called on Facebook, #sparkles. is hilarity/insanity personified.…adventures, we have had together thus far.

Here are a series of Facebook posts about MERRY under her pseudonym, Sparkles.

Merry a.k.a. "Sparkles"

Merry a.k.a. “Sparkles”

There are days…i am so insane with #sparkles, i cannot form amusing words. Today is one of them. So, boy #2 on antibiotics, We literally just got them. This am, I go downstairs (remember, its like 630) for literally 4 min….and return to see something white and crushed in her teeth. The antibiotic bottle. Immediately my mind goes crazy “I will have to cx all my patients, she will have to go to the vet hospital” Then I see them merely strewn about the ground like pretty pink polka dots. Apparently she just wanted the bottle. #seriously #ImMental

type type type. “Stop!” (barks at squirrel) type type type #whine massive paw rakes leg. type type type VERY front teeth nip soft flesh at forearm

#doIneedtoGoOn#adNauseum

Spray bottle: dog's best friend, worst enemy... or tastiest chew toy?

Spray bottle: dog’s best friend, worst enemy… or tastiest chew toy?

can i talk about how im #editing holdin a spray bottle in one hand, typing with the other. she literally just grabbed the tablecloth with her teeth. #saveMe

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO i use a spray bottle with #sparkles things have been nuts here, so she hasnt been getting her exercise…i came home tonight to SHREDDED SPRAY BOTTLE> GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH #thwarted

Brynn, how could you be frustrated with a dog as cute as this?! :-)

Warning. The following is a post of truth. Not a figment of the author’s imagination. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Yes, #sparkles So….all before 8 am. The temp hovers near zero. I take sausage and sparkles out. *Deep bark bark-the scary one. Sparkles bolts across field, INTO neighbor’s yard, Onto neighbors FREAKING PORCH, where two other dogs are behind glass, scratching, barking, waking their masters. I manage to grab hold of collar, back out into the knee deep snow, and after a struggle worthy of holmes and watson, collapse onto my butt, wet to the waste now, and manage the ‘click’ of the leash to collar. #itCantGetMoreFabulous #goodMorningSunshine

Thank you, direct tv, for my 7th, 30 minute conversation, just trying to order a video. Thank you, cell phone, for nearly dying, necessitating i run to plug into the wall, and am then trapped. Thank you, #sparkles for your obsession with my fuzzy socks. And biting them, while im trapped, tethered to the wall, and cannot scream as you bite my feet, lest the direct tv lady call for help.  Thank you, resolve as you cracked and i just remove the favorite socks, throwing them across the room to be shredded in the white fangs of death.  #thankyou #thisIsMyLife

I BRAKE FOR FUZZY SOCKS

Newton accompanied Arabella on the trip from England—he has a vocabulary, as does MERRY. She understands the difference between PORCH and OUTSIDE. She understands when you put your hand in your pocket, you may be reaching for a shock collar.

She….no, really. She…found a way to turn on the hose trigger herself, so she could squirt herself in the face. Which she enjoys—for some unknown reason.

MERRY and NEWTON are as intelligent as any toddler, and get into quite as much trouble.

So, if dogs interest you in the slightest, have a peek at BONESEEKER. Bella and Newton are waiting.

More About Boneseeker

Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn’t fit the role of a proper 1900′s lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella’s dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker.

Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment–to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction.

But this is no time for child’s play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal … or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls?

Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.

Brynn Chapman

Brynn Chapman

More About Brynn

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome.

Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

More About the Giveaway

  • $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 print copy of Boneseeker open to US Shipping

Click here for the Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway.

Boneseeker Banner

So how about you? Have any Tales from the Dogside to share? Many thanks to Brynn for sharing pictures of her adorable dogs and for guest blogging today! 


Book Recommendation: The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed

A story for readers who enjoy emotional journeys and adventurous tales, K.B. Laugheed’s THE SPIRIT KEEPER is historical fiction that would likely appeal to fans of Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear’s “People Books” (the First North Americans) and Jean Auel fans. I also think the book would appeal to fantasy romance readers and upper YA readers who are looking for something outside of their genres to try.

There’s no fantasy in The Spirit Keeper, but there’s lots of spirituality. The main character, Katie O’Toole, is an unlucky child, as she herself explains to us in the first few pages. The thirteenth child of abusive Irish immigrant parents, Katie nonetheless tries to be dutiful even as she wishes for a different life. That chance is offered to her when her home is raided in March of 1747. Two Native Americans traveling with the raiding party take her captive, but then give her a choice: stay with them and fulfill a great destiny or return to a family that, at best, is indifferent to her very existence.

Her companions call her the Creature of Fire and Ice. After all, Katie has fiery red hair and ice blue eyes. But her looks are not what makes her special. Despite her horrid childhood, Katie has a deep and personal sense of what is right and wrong and a vast, almost limitless, ability to love. The story is as much a journey of hearts and spirits as it is bodies. And, of course, the author part of me appreciated Laugheed’s take on perception, reality, truth, knowledge… and storytelling.

After finishing the book, I immediately searched for the next, which I couldn’t find. Laugheed’s website is vague about a sequel (“if you loved Part I–have faith. Sooner or later, I’m sure you’ll have a chance to read the whole story!!”) but I’ll say this— even if there isn’t a sequel, Laugheed provides a very satisfying ending.

What’s everyone else reading? Anything you want to recommend?

My neglected TBR pile (which includes a brief paragraph on why The Spirit Keeper caught my attention)

Best wishes and happy reading, everyone! :-D


Are you a #writing instructor?

I volunteered to be the new Workshop Scheduler for RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter — FF&P. This means that I’m the person who will be scouting out neat, new workshops for FF&P to offer to members and non-members alike.

What is FF&P looking for?

We are looking for workshops that will appeal to fiction writers in general, not just writers who write in speculative or romance genres (e.g. craft, business, inspiration, writing life, research… character development, worldbuilding, three act structure, GMC… online marketing, social media, self-publishing, traditional publishing, hybrid options… designing your own covers, hiring your own editors… querying, submitting, conferences… fan conventions… book signings, personal events… etc.!) but, of course, we also love workshops that are geared toward our favorite subgenres: fantasy, futuristic, SFR, PNR, UF, steampunk, time travel, and young adult fiction with speculative elements.

If you are an instructor who is currently offering workshops, please consider submitting a workshop proposal to me (use my “Contact” page or email me: archer at jillarcher dot com) and include the following:

  • Your name and online contact information
  • The title and duration of the workshop
  • A brief description of the proposed workshop
  • Whether you’ve taught the workshop before and, if so, where
  • Your bio

If you’re interested in seeing what type of workshops FF&P currently has scheduled, check out the line up here. (I’m also going to do a second post today listing a couple of March workshops that are being offered).

Finally, even if you aren’t an instructor, please let me know in the comments or send an email if you have any fantastic workshops to recommend.

Please forward this post to anyone who might be interested.

Thanks, everyone!


Fun Valentine’s Day Giveaway: Author Imogen Rose and alt-folk-punk group She Said Save Me release the album PORTAL

I interviewed Imogen Rose right before Halloween last year. She had just released her paranormal YA novel Uprising, the second book in her Bonfire Chronicles. She also writes a related series (the books share settings) called the Portal Chronicles. She recently teamed up with the acoustic, alternative, punk group SHE SAID SAVE ME from Toronto to write lyrics for an album to support her Portal series. Since I love the idea of artists teaming up and bridging creative mediums, I wanted to hear more about how their partnership came about. Imogen’s story is below. Bonus! => To celebrate the album’s release, she’s offering a chance to win 10 Signed CDs of PORTAL, 10 Portal Album Necklaces, and 5 Fridge Magnets. Welcome, Imogen!

She Said Save Me Portal Sountrack

 The Portal Chronicles

Soundtrack Single!

About a year ago, when Imogen Rose, author of the cult bestselling series, the Portal Chronicles, was surfing YouTube she stumbled upon a song, “If We Fall” by SHE SAID SAVE ME, and instantly fell in love with both the lyrics and the male vocal. She put the song on her writing playlist and looked up the Toronto-based band on Facebook… and liked their page. A while later, Imogen received a PM from Joe Vercillo, saying that if her books were ever adapted for film or TV she should feel free to use his music. She had no idea who he was, but looked him up. Imagine her fan girl squee moment when she discovered that he was the lead vocalist for SHE SAID SAVE ME! Imogen and Joe have been Facebook friends ever since.

The Portal Chronicles starts off with a serendipitous meeting in a London pub, which propels the lives of the characters into a time warp of what-ifs. During the prologue, which is the key to the story, Rupert is humming a song in that London pub where Olivia and he seal their fate. Imogen Rose always wondered what he was singing. Until late one night, when she closed her eyes and “heard” it. Imogen wrote the lyrics and SHE SAID SAVE ME put it to music. What better day than Valentine’s Day to release this song that defines the romance that is PORTAL?

Portal Single Release Giveaway

Joe Vercillo – vocals, guitar


Randy Lee – violin


Mike Olsen – cello


Ryan Granville-Martin – producer, engineer, arranger


Mastered by Nick Rawson


Lyrics by Imogen Rose

PORTAL

Tonight you wished upon our star
I had this feeling
Releasing dreams into the dark
Starlight revealing
A shooting star of promises
No delusions
Fades into the lights below
A spark of illusion

It’s fantasy, unwritten destiny
A portal to a secret wish
Is this real, or is this just a midsummer night dream’s what-if

Is this a dream of you and me
Is this a dream of you and me
Is this a dream of you and me

What if you’re not real, just hallucination?
An imaginary fixation
What if we escape to a new dimension?
Through a time warp in a broken constellation

It’s fantasy, unwritten destiny
A portal to a secret wish
Is this real, or is this just a midsummer night dream’s what-if

Is this a dream of you and me
Is this a dream of you and me
Is this a dream of you and me

For Soundcloud free download link, click the album cover above or here.

For i-tunes link, click here.

Imogen Rose Links:

SHE SAID SAVE ME Links:

PORTAL BOOK LINKS:

Click here for the Rafflecopter link.

Click here for my October 2013 interview with Imogen.

Interested in more Valentine’s Day links?

Check out my 2013 10 Things to Do or Give for Valentine’s Day list

Or click here (SWAK, Part I) and here (SWAK, Part II) to read about the legal consequences of sealing something versus the romantic consequences of kissing someone. :-D

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Thanks to Imogen for the great giveaway!


Page Proofs for White Heart of Justice: Sneak Peek at Prologue and Page 1

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

Page proofs for
WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE
(Most of those stickies are notes for me,
not typos!)

Just turned in the corrected page proofs for White Heart of Justice! As I mentioned after turning in reviewed proofs for Fiery Edge of Steel, this is a great moment for authors. It means, from my end, the book is FINISHED! Sure, there are all sorts of things that still need to be done, but most of them concern promotion — ways to get the word out about the book. So…

What can readers expect from White Heart of Justice?

If you liked the first two books, Dark Light of Day and Fiery Edge of Steel, expect to see more of the same blend of magic, deep, dark worldbuilding, romance, and action/adventure with a whiff of mystery, all told in a youthful first person voice (except for the prologue, which is told from a certain someone’s point of view ;-) ). That said, Noon is not as inexperienced in this third book as she was at the start of the series. (But that’s half the fun of reading a series, right? Getting to see how a character grows and changes over the course of the novels.)

In White Heart of Justice, readers will also get to see more of Nightshade (Noon’s tall, dark, and handsome healer brother), Aurelia (Noon’s somewhat enigmatic, always intense, sometimes aloof mother), and Karanos (Noon’s at times distant, often imposing Demon Council executive dad), as well as some other favorites. :-D

You’ll also get to see a new type of magic… and Noon using waning magic in a different way than she did in books 1 and 2. And, of course, there will be new beasts, new demons, and new places — both on and off campus — to explore!

Sneak Peek at Prologue and First Page

Clicking on the pictures should enlarge them enough to read. If you like what you see, please pre-order and/or add it to your Goodreads shelf! Links are below.

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

White Heart of Justice
Prologue i

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

White Heart of Justice
Prologue ii

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy

White Heart of Justice
Page 1

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Interested in reading more about

White Heart of Justice?

  • Click here for my post on the revision process and to read about what the other racers’ targets are.
  • Click here for my cover reveal post, which has my thoughts on all of my covers, including my favorite — White Heart of Justice!

Thanks to everyone who has supported this series! I hope you enjoy reading book #3 as much as I enjoyed writing it!


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