Release Blitz and Giveaway for Day Of Wrath (Taking Shield #5) by Anna Butler

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Length: 106,470 words
 
Taking Shield Series



Gyrfalcon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Heart Scarab (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Makepeace (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Chains of Their Sins (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb


In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friends… and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything he’s worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesn’t want to leave Flynn.


There’s time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, he’s ever had. That’s the plan.


Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.


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Series Recap Blitz/Cover Reveal – Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to an explosive conclusion in the fifth book, Day of Wrath, to be published on 28 June 2018.

First that cover. Designed by Adrian Nicholas, whoís been responsible for creating the Taking Shield brand, this cover features a faceless drone, one of the cyborg soldiers sent against humanity by the Maess:

About Day of Wrath

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friendsÖ and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything heís worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesnít want to leave Flynn.

Thereís time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, heís ever had. Thatís the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Pre-order Day of Wrath

Want to win some loot? Pre-order The Day of Wrath at a digital store (Amazon, Kobo, Nook etc) and send a copy of the email confirmation (or a screengrab of it) to annabutlerfiction@gmail.com and

(i) Anna will send you the first chapter and some deleted scenes by email. The deleted scenes will be exclusive until the end of the year;

(ii) the first twenty to respond will get a little bag of Taking Shield loot; and

(ii) your name will be entered in a draw to win one of seven signed first edition paperbacks of Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab. Winners will be announced on publication day.

Preorder here: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kobo | Smashwords

 

Excerpt from Day of Wrath

As Bennet angled over to starboard, Flynn gave his own Hornet a metaphorical boot in the backside, and tagged along faithfully at Bennetís port wing. He stayed close and tight. Pity the ensigns werenít there to see how it was done. With finesse. Panache. And sheer, mind-boggling talent.

The Hornetís navigational computer helpfully overlaid a representation of Aglaia with the usual spherical latitude-longitude grid, pulling the planetary data from the database. At least they had the figures for known planets logged and stored and the nav-com didnít have to make it up. Which it could, of course, by designating the poles with an arbitrary north and south label, locating the equator, and inventing an arbitrary prime meridian to work with. According to legend, the system originated on Earth before man took to the skies, so old it was invented for sailing ships. Given Earth was ten thousand years gone, Flynn put a lot of emphasis on ëlegendí. Their flight navigation systems were built on bloody folklore.

Madness.

Still, at least he couldnít get lost.

He followed Bennet into a high orbit along Aglaiaís equator, skimming along for a moment before going down into the atmosphere. And by skimming, he meant they bounced along like stones skipping over water before they burst through into a storm system. A big storm system. The air roiled in great waves and billows, buffeting the Hornets, and lightning cracked and sizzled off their hulls. The flow of the clouds was fierce, the turbulence greatest at the boundaries between cloud layers. And the winds! More than fierce. They were a howling, raging, relentless savagery that threatened to overwhelm even the Hornetís engines. The Hornet bucked and balked against the winds, and it took every ounce of skill Flynn possessed to fight her into obedience, to keep her flying in the direction he wanted. He couldnít rely on relaxed experience here. This was active, constant readjustment to make her respond. He dropped back a trifle, giving Bennet and himself room to ride out the bucking and bouncing. He wasnít so much flying through Aglaiaís skies, as cavorting through them.

Gods, it was fun!

Anna : what you, dear reader, might expect from the Taking Shield series

Gay literature is a growing genre. And the biggest element of that, just as itís the biggest element of literature generally? Romance. Love, hearts, kisses, and happiness. M/M romance, in particular, is booming.

Now then, if Iím reading a romance, I have certain expectations. I want to see two people attracted to each other, overcoming some obstacle to being together, being faithful and loving. And at the very least, the book must close with a Happy-For-Now ending even if the story canít quite make it Happy Ever After. En route they can have all sorts of things happen: murders, mystery, mayhem. Doesnít matter. What matters is theyíre together and I can put the book down feeling good about the outcome.

But this is where things get a little sticky. Because if youíre looking for pure romance, then I have to confess that the Taking Shield series wonít deliver it. Shield isnít romance. It is a love storyóa very deep and, at times, intense love storyóthat covers five or six years of interstellar war and billions of miles of space travel. This is a classic space opera. All the staples of old school sci-fi are here: big spaceships, infiltrations of enemy bases, cool Shield suits, and lots of people running around shooting their lasers.

And it has two men in love. Oh wait. Not as old school as all that, then.

Across the whole of the series, there are two main story themes, intertwining with each other: the war against the Maess and, set against that, the relationship between Shield Captain Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. The Maess war and everything Bennet has to do there gets equal billing with the slow unfolding of his relationship with Flynn.

So something of a niche appeal, here! But if you like sweeping sagas and big love stories where the obstacles the heroes face are big and sweeping too, I do hope youíll give Bennet and Flynn a try. They arenít perfect, but a couple of guys with all their warts and faults, all their brilliance and intelligence, all their courage and loyalty and great hearts, all their beauty and all their uglinessóand they love each other. They love each other a great deal, despite every parting, and every reverse and upset in their relationship. And now, at the end of the series, perhaps theyíll get their chance.

Do come on the adventure with them. I donít think youíll regret it.

About the series

Taking Shield started out as a simple set of ëwhat ifí questions. What if, in some AU universe, Earthís been a burnt out dustball for the last ten thousand years? What if thereís a riff on the Exodus and remnants of humanity escape, but led by Pharaohs? What if the new world they found, Albion, is at war with an enemy no one has ever seen? What if the hero is a member of Albionís special forces and the Military Strategy Unit? What if he finds something that seriously threatens Albion? What if he falls in love with a Fleet pilot and has his life turned upside down?

Earthís a dead planet, dark for more than ten thousand years; lost for so long no one even knows where its solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But Albionís drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war thatís dragged on for generations.

The Taking Shield series charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanityís enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isnít able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albionís victory. And some days he isnít sure, any longer, what victory looks like.


Note: the novels are not standalones and should be read in order.

 

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon ó Earthís last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesnít need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his fatheróor with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesnít expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

Available FREE at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab ó Shield Captain Bennet is on Telnos, an unpleasant little planet inhabited by religious fanatics and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines. Itís about to be about to be overrun by the Maess. Bennetís job is to get out as many civilians as he can, but the enemy arrives before the evacuation is complete. Caught in a vicious fire fight, Bennet is left behind, presumed dead.

His family is grieving. Joss, his long-term partner, grieves with them; lost, unhappy, remorseful. First Lieutenant Flynn has no official ërightsí here. He isnít family. He isnít partner or lover. Heís just broken

Available at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace ó Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isnít his fatherís shipóbad enough that he canít yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesnít have the added stress of commanding former lover, Fleet Lieutenant Flynn and knowing the fraternisation regulations will keep them apart.

Bennetís new mission takes him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity. Itís not good. Itís not good at all.

SECOND PLACE WINNER 2016 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

Available at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 04: The Chains Of Their Sins ó Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeaceóethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

FIRST PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

THIRD PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Book

Available from Payhip | A digital bookstore near you



Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. Sheís supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butlerís Pantry (Facebook Group) | Twitter | Sign up for Annaís occasional newsletter

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A MelanieM Review : The Jackal’s House (Lancaster’s Luck #2) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Sequel to The Gilded Scarab

Lancaster’s Luck: Book II

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

Let me say right from the start The Jackal’s House by Anna Butler is just outstanding entertainment and a grand read!  If you love suspense, mystery, romance, and a story full of intrigue and great world building, well, this is the one for you.

There are several things I’d like to dispense with immediately.  Yes, The Jackal’s House is a sequel to The Gilded Scarab, the first Lancaster’s Luck story, however, I don’t feel it’s necessary to read that one in order to get the full enjoyment out of this tale.  Anna Butler gives you the details you need (enough to make you want to read that one) and then moves you into the events unfolding here.  Rafe and Ned are  a newly established couple (as much as they can be in this universe) and are still working out exactly what that means to their lives in all their complicated aspects.

The next is that this is a steampunk world which envisions a universe using a different type of energy and having more elements in their scientific table.  There is a comprehensive glossary in the back of the story just in case you need it.  You might want to look it over first, but I didn’t really find it necessary.  Why?  Because the vivid descriptions which create such marvelously complete pictures in your mind give this author’s world vision flight!  Just like the magnificent  machine that will carry Rafe, Ned, Harry, Molly and the lot all the way to Aegypt.   Butler makes this world hum and glow with aether!  Even if you never thought you’d like a steampunk story before, trust me, you’ll love this one.

Why?  Because of all the incredible layers.  It’s not just the romance, which is touching, real, and believable.  I loved Rafe and Ned, pulling towards one another against everything,  including the politics of the day.  No it’s their families, the  whole complicated political structure Butler has created with tightly involved families (reflecting the English houses where politics and family could not be separated), and the hierarchy in which  Ned and Rafe are both caught up in.

In The Jackal’s House, the characterization is superb, the  plots tights and deeply layered and the suspense off the charts.   And the love and romance matches it all.     I want so much more!

So grab up The Jackal’s House (Lancaster’s Luck #2) by Anna Butler and prepare to fall deeply in love.  I suspect you’ll find yourself heading back to pick up The Gilded Scarab like I will.  If our luck holds, there will be more of the Lancasters and Ned and Rafe.  And scarabs of course.   They seem to go hand in hand.

Cover Design: Reese Dante  is just terrific.  Works with all the elements of the storyline and character.

Sales Link

 Amazon US | Amazon UK

Dreamspinner Press ebook  |  Dreamspinner Press paperback

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspinner Press, 310 pages
Published October 30th 2017
Original TitleThe Jackal’s House
ISBN139781635339444
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLancaster’s Luck #2

Review Tour for Anna Butler’s The Jackal’s House (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 114,000 words approx. 
 
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante 
 
Lancaster’s Luck Series
 
The Gilded Scarab (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
About The Series


Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.


So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.


Blurb


Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….


Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case. 


Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?


Excerpt

I like kissing.


Like Ned, I’d spent years in hiding. His constraint had been matrimony and the sense of honor and duty that would never have allowed him to be unfaithful to the mother of his sons. Only her untimely death had released those bonds. Mine had been less noble: I had no desire for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from Her Imperial Majesty’s Aero Corps. Most of my encounters over the years had been quick and furtive, but I’d taken every chance I could to practice my technique.


I not only liked kissing, I was good at it.


Fast little kisses to start with, kisses that barely made contact with the skin of Ned’s throat, kisses meant to tease. He tilted his head back to let me in, closing his eyes. His mouth opened on a soft sigh. I hoped he was giving himself up to the pleasure, losing himself in it, that nothing mattered to him at that moment except the feel of my mouth on his throat and lips. I hoped so. I wanted to please him.


I kissed and licked the delicate skin under his ear until he choked with laughter at the tickling. He tightened his grip on my hands and tugged at them until I raised my head. Ha! He’d lulled me into trusting him there and took full advantage of it. He swooped to capture my mouth with his, cutting off breath and thought, bringing a dizzying warmth with his hot tongue, and making me moan.


Of course, they were very manly moans.

 

ns.

For Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star review, visit here.

 

October 30 – Love Bytes
November 1 – Nerdy, Dirty & Flirty
November 3 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, The Novel Approach
November 6 – RJ Scott 
November 7 – Gay Book Reviews
November 8 – MM Good Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Jim’s Reading Room
November 9 – Alpha Book Club
November 10 – Drops of Ink, Bayou Book Junkie, Padme’s Library

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo. 



Website and Blog
Facebook
The Butlerís Pantry (Facebook Group)
Pinterest
Twitter
Sign up for Annaís quarterly newsletter

Giveaway

Anna Butler Scarabs, Inspiration and her latest release The Jackal’s House ( Lancaster’s Luck #2) (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)

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The Jackal’s House ( Lancaster’s Luck#2) by Anna Butler
Dreamspinner Press

Publication Date: 30 October 2017
Cover Artist: Reese Dante,Illustrator (Map): Margaret Warner

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press ebook  |  Dreamspinner Press paperback

Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  Kobo  | Apple iBooks

Kobo 

B&N  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is  happy to have Anna Butler here today on her tour for The Jackal’s House. Welcome, Anna.

✒︎

The Tickle Of Scarabs’ Feet by Anna Butler

You might have thought I got scarabs out of my system with the first Rafe and Ned book, The Gilded Scarab, but no, not quite. I couldn’t see how to set a book in Aegypt and not include the most mystical beetle of all somewhere. Scarabs are so quintessentially Egyptian, Rafe himself remarks, “I was fated to be haunted by the damned things.” So in The Jackal’s House I gave him a couple of experiences of my own where scarabs are concerned. One was rather sad, when my first ever live scarab ended up as a lizard’s lunch, so we won’t revisit that here. That’s rather too strong a reminder of how death is the prevailing characteristic of Ancient Egypt!

Instead, here’s something more heartwarming.

Years ago, in Sakkara, after walking around Djoser’s step pyramid and laying my hand on five thousand years given physical shape, after the cool of the Serapeum where bulls were once feted as gods and mummified like pharaohs, there was a tomb on the desert fringe. I don’t remember now whose tomb it was. Some Old Kingdom noble whose coloured statue still sat in the niche, the serdab, where once his family laid offerings of food and wine. In the doorway to his tomb, in a shallow depression in the sand, the scarabs ran and scuttled. They’re big and black. I was the only member of our group who picked one up and let it sit there, filling the palm of my hand. I’ll admit right now I was a little bit worried that it would bite—those beetles have big jaws. But it didn’t. It just sat there, quite patiently, waiting for me to be done playing. And when I set it down again, and tilted my hand to let it run off back onto the sand. I laughed. Maybe slightly from relief at being unbitten, but mostly because its legs and feet tickled the skin of my palm as it went.

I love beetles. They’re the gems of the insect world, their bodies showing an astonishing range of colour and pattern, often in rich,

jewel colours: ruby red, sapphire, a glorious emerald green. Admittedly, the dull black sacred scarabs of Egypt don’t quite fall into that category, but they have deserts and pyramids on their side instead. They’re emblematic of sand, the Nile, and skies that are the colour of beaten copper at noon—mysterious, a symbol of the romance of ancient Egypt. I can forgive them for being a little dull to look at.

I’m in poetic mood today, for some reason. My husband and I visited Egypt for our first wedding anniversary and now I’ve been writing about archaeological expeditions there, I’ve been thinking a lot about that trip to Egypt. So much of it is in my heart and memory, and certainly one highlight was a big black beetle that consented to sit on my hand for a moment.

You know, I’m not surprised that so much of my writing has a scarab running through it. Scarabs symbolise rebirth and new chances and starting again. Scarabs are about never giving in and how each morning the scarab lifts the disc of the sun up on its wide wings to signal the start of a new day.

That’s not a bad philosophy to live by. Or to write by.

And their feet tickle. You can’t ask better than that.

About The Book

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy…

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

Genre: Steampunk adventure m/m romance
Wordcount: c111,600
Sequel to The Gilded Scarab

About The Series

The Gilded Scarab

The Jackal’s House

Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.

So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.

Find out more about the Lancaster’s Luck books and the world of Rafe and Ned

Excerpt

We didn’t stay up late. It was barely ten when we headed up to our rooms on the second floor, trailed by Sam and Hugh. Todd was out at the aerodrome, keeping watch with his men over the Brunel.

“I’ll be glad to get back to the dig tomorrow,” Ned said. “Come and have a cigar and some brandy, Rafe.”

Which invitation I was quick to accept, as you might imagine. Hugh gave me a knowing grin and went off to his own room with nary a backward glance. Ned’s room, beside mine, overlooked the Ezbekieh Gardens. Sam had left the floor-to-ceiling windows open when we went down to dinner, the billowing muslin curtains filtering the sounds and smells of the Cairo night. The faint scent of woodsmoke and tarry aether rolled in as an autocar went by on its way to the Abdeen Palace where the Khedive held court.

Sam was suddenly the perfect servant. He brought Ned and me glasses of a fine champagne cognac and a box of fragrant cigars before moving on silent feet to close the window shutters against the night and light the lamp on a small table near the bed. The little screw-valve at the side of the globe squeaked as he turned it clockwise to open the pipe, the luminiferous aether hissing louder than a snake at the zoo when someone taps the glass sides of its terrarium. Sam adjusted each lamp to a warm glow inside the big glass globe by passing his hand over it. The lightning in the globe sprang into life, crackling and spitting as it followed his palm. He was careful not to make the room too bright, leaving thick dark shadows inhabiting the corners.

“I’ve locked the outer door, and I’ll sleep in there.” He nodded to a sort of anteroom that led to the main corridor. “I’ll close the door, but keep the noise down. I don’t want to hear nothing. G’night.”

It was difficult not to laugh. Dear Sam. I felt really quite mellow toward him, a sentiment he’d no doubt resent intensely. Ned grinned at me as soon as the door closed behind Sam, and dear Lord, but I just had to kiss him. Couldn’t help myself.

We took our time getting down to our skin. It wasn’t something to be rushed. Aesop’s tortoise had it almost right: less haste, more pleasure.

For a while I was content with kisses, Ned’s face so close that drowning in those hazel eyes was a real possibility. The touch of Ned’s tongue against mine had me making rather embarrassingly soft noises in the back of my throat. You know, getting lost for all eternity in those kisses, in the feel of Ned’s body pressed against mine… I couldn’t think of anything finer.

Our jackets were on the floor somewhere, long abandoned. Now all my attention was on tugging Ned’s shirt out from his trousers and running my hands up underneath it and over the heated skin beneath. Ned moaned and bucked his hips so hard that, laughing, I pulled my mouth from his. “Ah, you liked that, did you?”

Ned moistened his lips and pulled me in closer. “It wasn’t entirely disagreeable.”

Pfft!

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Enter the Rafflecoptor draw for

1st prize—$25 or equivalent Amazon gift card

2nd prize—a signed paperback of the first Lancaster’s Luck book, the Gilded Scarab.

Raffelcoptor code: Raffelcoptor link if can’t embed code: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a6cd54479/?

About Anna

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.

Release Blitz for The Jackal’s House (Lancaster’s Luck #2) by Anna Butler (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

 
Length: 114,000 words approx. 
 
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante 
 
Lancaster’s Luck Series
 
The Gilded Scarab (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
About The Series


Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.


So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium



Blurb

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….


Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case. 


Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?




 

Excerpt

I like kissing.


Like Ned, I’d spent years in hiding. His constraint had been matrimony and the sense of honor and duty that would never have allowed him to be unfaithful to the mother of his sons. Only her untimely death had released those bonds. Mine had been less noble: I had no desire for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from Her Imperial Majesty’s Aero Corps. Most of my encounters over the years had been quick and furtive, but I’d taken every chance I could to practice my technique.


I not only liked kissing, I was good at it.


Fast little kisses to start with, kisses that barely made contact with the skin of Ned’s throat, kisses meant to tease. He tilted his head back to let me in, closing his eyes. His mouth opened on a soft sigh. I hoped he was giving himself up to the pleasure, losing himself in it, that nothing mattered to him at that moment except the feel of my mouth on his throat and lips. I hoped so. I wanted to please him.


I kissed and licked the delicate skin under his ear until he choked with laughter at the tickling. He tightened his grip on my hands and tugged at them until I raised my head. Ha! He’d lulled me into trusting him there and took full advantage of it. He swooped to capture my mouth with his, cutting off breath and thought, bringing a dizzying warmth with his hot tongue, and making me moan.


Of course, they were very manly moans.

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo. 



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A Paul B Review: The Chain of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have really enjoyed the Taking Shield series.  Each book draws me in further into Shield Captain Bennet’s world.  While Albion is fighting its hundred year war against the Maess, and struggling to hold on, Bennet tries to live his life as best as he can.  But sometimes the horrors of war interfere with his plans.

During his last year of rotation out of his mandated three years out of Shield, Bennet is assigned to the Gyrfalcon, his father’s ship.  That only would cause headaches for Bennet.  But his assignment as Flight Captain of the ship would mean he is now in the line of command of Flynn, his lover from the ship.  As a result, he must now spend the next year  (10 months or 400 days in Albion terms) being able to look but not touch when it comes to Flynn.  Add in the fact that Flynn has probably had a fling with his sister and his father suspects that he and Flynn are more than just friends makes life even more difficult for him.

As if the romantic entanglements aren’t enough to make Bennet irritable, the fallout from the Makepeace continues to haunt him.  The president is on the verge of being ousted from office, either through impeachment or the next election.  Some members of the intelligence committee believe that while his theories might be correct, there is no proof that the Maess are getting help.  The man behind the political scenes wants to groom Bennet for a political career, much to Bennet’s chagrin.  And the topping of the cake is the treatment of the rescued humans from Makepeace are being kept on a former penal colony with his partner Felix leading the scientific team seeing what the Maess have actually done to them.  Bennet is counting down the days until he can return to his form of normalcy and back in the Shield fold.

Bennet has become a favorite character of mine.  He is trying the best he can for the war effort in a variety of ways.  While he could have taken a desk job at the Strategic unit doing analysis of data for the war, he is out there sometimes behind enemy lines doing what he feels needs to be done.  What really gets to Bennet’s soul is the consequences of those actions that sometimes are unknown to him until two or three years later.  This goes for not only the militaristic side of his life but the personal.  Flynn notes that he and Bennet have spent sixty-four days out of the past five years (2000 days) together.  Yet somehow Bennet keeps going on.  As his year on the Gyrfalcon is finishing, he must once again go home, away from Flynn, and deal with the ramifications of the fallout from Makepeace with the new president.  I wait impatiently for the next book in this saga.

Cover art again is terrific. Lush and dark, just perfect.

Sales Link

Book Details

EBook, 283 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 13, 2016 by Glass Hat Press

ASIN:  B01MZ9QQYQ

Series:  Taking Shield

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)

Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)

The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4)

A Paul B Review: Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

heart-scarab-by-anna-butlerIt’s been a year and a year and a half since Bennet returned from T-18.  Eighteen months since he last saw Fleet Lieutenant Flynn.  Things with Joss are just as rocky as ever since his return from that mission.  So Bennet was half relieved when Rosie, his second in command picks up him for his next mission, the evacuation of illegal settlers on the planet Telnos.  The religious sect that settled there believes it is just a government plot to control them.  However, the Maess drones and ships do show up while Bennet and crew are trying to convince one settlement to leave.  Several are killed during the attack, including children, which Bennet sees as a senseless waste of life.  As the Shield team moves the survivors toward the cutter, Bennet is hit in the helmet with a laser blast.  Rosie gets the remaining survivors on board and leaves the planet, unable to retrieve Bennet.

Back on Albion and the Gyrfalcon word spreads of Bennet’s death.  This news hits the family hard, along with Bennet’s partner Joss.  Joss goes into a depression because of the way he has treated his relationship with Bennet over the past nine years.  He regrets the dozens of affairs that he had while Bennet was off on missions.  He makes an ancient sacrifice to the old gods to help guide Bennet’s soul into the afterlife.  Among the pieces he buries is a heart scarab, the symbol of a heart place keeper of a mummy, which Bennet particularly liked.  When the family attends the midnight watch (the equivalent of a memorial service), Rosie suggests to Caeden, Bennet’s father, that they send another mission to rescue whatever survivors were left to honor Bennet.

When his family does not know is that Bennet survived the attack.  He has been living with a group of miners that failed to get off the planet when the Maess attacked.  He and the chief miner Ifan round up what is left of the human population on the planet that they can find and bring them into the mines for safety.  When his comm link buzzes, he realizes that against all normal protocol, Shield has returned and that he will be rescued.  During the rescue however, he suffers a direct laser blast to his knee, once again putting his life in danger.  His family, Joss, Flynn and Rosie must now deal with the consequences of Bennet’s return. 

This second book in Anna Butler’s Taking Shield series deals with the emotional and psychological effects of relationships and war.  Bennet is still trying to process his reunion with his father.  Joss, having used different men to deal with the loneliness of Bennet’s absence, finds that they were all pointless.  When he learns of Bennet’s affair with Flynn, the question becomes if it is worse to have several different affairs that mean nothing or one affair that means something.  Flynn is all confused as to why Caeden is so interested in helping him with Bennet.  After all is said and done, it seems no one escapes this drama without some heartache.

The cover art by Wilde City Press has Bennet superimposed inside a Shield badge against a star filled sky.  I think it is very appropriate for the book.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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Book Details

EBook, 396 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  July 22, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925313-25-3

Series:  Taking Shield

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)

A Paul B Review: Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

gyrfalcon-by-anna-butlerMany centuries have passed since a part of Earth’s population has settled on the planet Albion.  It has only been just over a century since the war with the Maess started.  While the population of Albion deals with fighting the war, the Maess use drones to do their fighting.  In fact, no one has ever seen someone from Maess.  The creepiest thing about the drones is that as the war continues, the drones begin to look more and more humanoid. 

Against this background, Shield Captain Bennett tries to negotiate his life.  As part of the reconnaissance unit of the war effort, his mission is to get in behind enemy lines, find information about the enemy and if possible, destroy outposts to cripple the enemy’s operation.  Not bad for an academic whose family has had a long line of military service.  But the fact he is not in active duty in the military and the fact that Bennett is gay and in a relationship with a man almost twice his age has caused a rift with his father.   Add in that his partner for the last seven years is tired of Bennett going off on dangerous missions and not satisfied with his academic position makes life tense for Bennett.

Called in from his break after his last assignment, Bennett must once again go behind enemy lines.  When his own starship gets called to replace a damaged vessel, Bennett is transferred to the dreadnaught Gyrfalcon.  Not only is the dreadnaught probably the wrong type of ship for his mission, its commanding officer is none other than his father.  His hope is to keep things civil until the end of the mission.  Then there is flight Lieutenant Flynn who captures Bennett’s attention.  Flynn is not only cocky, but has the flight skills to back it up.  A love them and leave them type guy, Flynn sets out to make the Shield captain his next conquest.  That is if this mission doesn’t get them both killed first. 

The world Anna Butler has created is both simple and complex at the same time.  Set several centuries into the future, Albion is made of Earth refugees.  The governmental order has ten national governments and one planetary government.  There is a pantheon of gods that are worshipped but they are not discussed in detail.  What was meant as a simple expression of friendship was taken as an act of war by the drones of the Maess.  Then there is the life of Bennett.  His home life is screwed up in all different ways.  He would like nothing more than do research but knows he needs to contribute to the war effort, even though it’s not the type of help his father expects of him.  He has been with his partner Joss for seven years but he begins to have feelings for Flynn that he hasn’t had for Joss in a long time.  This is a great start to this series.

Cover art by Wilde City Press is outstanding, brands the series and is a eye-catching cover.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details

EBook, 317 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 18, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925180-84-8

Series:  Taking Shield

Series Recap Tour & Giveaway – Anna Butler’s Taking Shield Series

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Series Recap Tour & Giveaway – Anna Butler – Taking Shield Series

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)
 
Earthís last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesnít need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his fatheróor with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesnít expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

 

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)
 
Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennetís job is to get out as many civilians as he canóa task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.
  Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden. And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-brokenÖno. Flynn is just broken.
Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)
 
Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isnít his fatherís shipóbad enough that he canít yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesnít have the added stress of commanding former lover Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, knowing the fraternisation regulations will keep them apart.
  Working on the material he collected himself on T18 three years before, Bennet decodes enough Maess data to send him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity.
Itís not good. Itís not good at all.
Author Bio:
Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.

 

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