Cover Reveal for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire, Book 10)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Release Date: January 17, 2019

Tagline

Some paths we choose. Others are chosen for us.

Blurb

Grand Summoner Dre’Kariston D’Vaire understands firsthand the brutal reality of war. Barely surviving a gruesome battle, he is one of the few remaining warlocks. After recovering from his wounds, he returns to the castle of his birth only to find his entire race annihilated. For centuries he disguises his power and appearance, refusing to be another victim. When he reunites with his twin, his life changes from barren to beautiful. For years he follows his brother’s example of scrying for his mate, but it is not until they join their power that Fate answers, leading him to Court Ethelin.

Prince Somerly Ethelindraconis is stunned as he races to an appointment and runs into a crowned sorcerer standing on his father’s land. His only parent hates magickind and keeps them far from home, but Somerly cannot deny the attractive man his name and number. King Ethelin has his son’s life planned out for him, and Somerly is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help his court—until he falls for Dre’Kariston. He is soon caught between the promises he’s made and what his heart desires. There’s no way to please everyone, and Somerly finds himself teetering on a precipice that forces him to decide where his future lies.

With infinite paths twisting ahead, Dre’Kariston and Somerly must follow the truth in their hearts to make the right choices if they wish to forge an enduring love. Fate brought them together, but will they run out of chances before it’s too late to save their matebond?

About the Author 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website at: www.jessamynkingley.com

Follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/jessamynkingley. She loves to engage with readers there.

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Can a curse be a blessing?

Clematis works hard to embody every fairy stereotype. He can be a sulky prince or a submissive flirt, slutty and arrogant or silly and soft. He makes himself into whatever causes someone to want him. Combine that with beauty that’s incredible even for a fairy, and everyone wants him sooner or later… just not for long.

Well, everyone except the fairy Clematis secretly adores. But then, he’s never expected happily ever after, not when he’s spent years burying his emotions and making himself unlovable to push people away and protect his heart.

But his curse changes all that, and Clematis can no longer prevent his feelings from rising to the surface. He’s terrified that when his few friends see him for who he really is, they’ll abandon him, just like his parents did.

It’s hard to imagine friends who see past his act to the sweet person within, but maybe happiness has been in front of him the entire time, waiting for the real Clematis to break free and blossom.

So it’s not often a story has me sobbing by the first 18 pages, well, ok, not a story by R Cooper.  I adore R Cooper.  This author has a definite style and approach to  writing and their stories, especially this series.  It flows very naturally, with ebbs and eddies, long lovely narrative winding strolls through storied forests and a town occupied by humans and magical beings alike.  From the first novel, Some Kind of Magic, the author has been building an amazing universe and ever increasing,  always interlocked ,cast of characters.  And they flit, sometimes on gossamer wings or growl or stomp or what have you through each other’s stories, making appearances both large and small.

The romances take  time to come to fruition, slow like the seasons, but eventually, love and the couples find a way.  And it’s amazing.

But I don’t find myself sobbing in the first couple of chapter.  Nope, nuh uh.  But then again there’s no one quite like Clematis.

You see, Clematis has impacted just about every character, often badly, within this series. And we’ve always seen the ramifications of Clematis’ actions from the perspective of the other person/being’s life.

Until now.

Now we see the tragedy, the pain, the victim that is Clematis.  And I’m here to tell you that it’s shattering in R. Cooper’s totally quiet, disquieting way.

I spent most of this book reaching for tissues because just when I thought his gentle acceptance of  victimization,  of his state of awful existence for such a long period of time  had gotten to a point where I could see him working through issues and trying to see what those around him did, R Cooper delivers a blow, not with a strike of a hand, but with the cut of a narrative feather. One that goes so much more quickly straight to the heart.  To the reader and to the other characters finally getting a true picture of the fairy in their midst all this time.

What an incredible talent that exists in this writer!  In this one story, Cooper takes one character that has existed throughout all the series and now reveals Clematis to have been not the being represented at all, but a new truth uncovered.  And some of the beings from the other stories?  Well their actions don’t seem quite so shiny in retrospect given the new revelations here.

These aren’t novels where you can relay details because the plots are too complicated and linked with other beings and their stories.  Suffice it to say, the characters/beings are created so realistically that they come alive from the moment you meet them.  They shower glitter, shed fur, and weep tears that leave tracks that shine into your heart.

This is the ninth book.  I don’t know if there will be a tenth.  So many characters from all the stories appeared here that it almost felt as though the author was wrapping things up. Excerpt that, R Cooper style, they also stirred up things as well.  So your guess is as good as mine.

I love this series. Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper certainly shook things up in many ways.  I’m going to have to restock my  tissues, that’s for certain.

I will say it has a wonderfully happy ending for all the tears that was shed.  Just as I hoped for.

For those new to the Being(s) in Love series, I have no idea what to tell you.  Without the foundation of the other stories, you might be somewhat lost here, but it takes time to read all eight stories (which I adore) before getting here.  I do recommend you do that,  Just pick a lovely  spot, take you time, get comfy, and be prepared to go on a wonderful journey.  You’ll end up here.  For now.

Cover art: Paul Richmond.  Love this  cover but…somehow something is missing. Read the story and you will know what I’m talking about.  Because that’s not Clematis. Read and find out who it is.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 306 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640808188
Edition Language English
Series Being(s) in Love #9

A Boy and His Dragon

A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate

Little Wolf

The Firebird and Other Stories

Frangipani and the Very Shiny Boy

A Dandelion for Tulip

All the Futures That Could Be

Treasure for Treasure

His Mossy Boy

Sweet Clematis

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

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 Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Finn is awake after centuries of Dreaming with no way to get back to the Otherworld now that the Veil is closed. Diego rescued him as it appears he’s preparing to jump off a bridge. Finn is a fae and the city, with all its iron and steel, is killing him. Diego is a kind soul, one who helps people and animals. He also doesn’t believe in the supernatural, even though he writes about it. After a breakup with his jerk of a boyfriend Mitch, Diego tries to be just friends with Finn whilst helping him adapt to the modern world. When his agent lets him stay at her cabin to get away from the city and write, it’s a great way to help Finn get back to nature. This is a fish out of water story that made me laugh out loud several times. Diego is as out of his element in the woods as Finn is in the city. Neither of them seem to take very good care of themselves, so they both need a keeper. As Finn sparks Diego’s creativity, helping him with his book, he heals now that he is free to roam in nature. But not all magical creatures are pleasant and evil awaits in the woods. Diego battles to accept his new reality and Finn’s love.

So many things fall into place when they need to, I think it would be best if I chalk this up to the “luck of the Irish.” This was an easy read and not too scary even though there is violence. If you like when the couple are overly sweet with pet names, you might like this. There are some sex scenes but they are not very long, actually there are so many, they are also skipped over by the author near the end. I think the issue is that it is actually too long. The conflict is resolved, but the story still goes on. (Apparently this was a Christmas story that had originally been separate, but was edited into the end of this edition of the book.) While Diego’s agent and landlord helped move the story along, they are not full fleshed out. I enjoyed the story, but I wasn’t super attracted to it.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. It is very striking and shows Finn as imagined on the bridge where he meets Diego. I also like the symbolism of the bridge: as him bridging the world between fae and human, also the bridging between corporeal and incorporeal. The crow flying gives a hint at where the story will go. Finn likes bright colors, as they speak to him.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published July 2nd 2009)
Original TitleFinn
ASINB07C3MH4X8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEndangered Fae #1
CharactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval setting New Brunswick (Canada)

An Alisa Review: A Year And A Day (Fae Haven #1) by Elizabeth Silver & Jenny Urban

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

He wasn’t looking for love, but he’ll break all the laws of this realm and the next to keep it.

Reserved, bookish Ben isn’t looking for a relationship. Then he meets Niall, a gorgeous stranger with a knack for avoiding direct questions, and tumbles headfirst into love. Niall is perfect in just about every way, right up until he leaves town for a short trip…and vanishes off the face of the earth.

A magical being trapped in his own realm, Niall fights to return to this world to be with Ben. But by the time he gets back, more than a year has passed, and Ben refuses to believe Niall’s story of fae and magic.

With only a month to woo Ben back and earn a chance at staying permanently, Niall is willing to try anything to be with the man he loves. Then Niall’s world spills over into ours and puts Ben’s life in danger, and it becomes a race to save Ben before their stolen time comes to an end.

This was a nice story.  Niall meets Ben not long before his time on earth is up and when he goes home to tell his family he is staying he gets stuck there longer than planned.  Ben can’t believe the man he loved would just leave and not come back when he said he would only be gone a few days, not over a year and a half.

Niall and Ben have an instant connection that is easy to see as is how willing they are to really work for a relationship.  However, Niall gets caught up in the fae’s sense of fun and since time is different is gone from Ben much longer than he should have been.  Ben tries to be a hardass when Niall shows up again but it’s hard to deny your feelings.  The only thing that was hard for me was the whole situation with the Hunt, I would think all fae (especially the leader of the Hunt) would know that when you are handfasted to someone they are safe.  I look forward to the other stories in the series being re-published also.

The cover art by Melody Pond is nice and I like the visual of Niall.

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages

Published: 2nd edition, September 14, 2018 by MLR Press

ISBN: 978-1-641-22-1863

Edition Language: English

Series: Fae Haven #1

Fantasy Spotlight Special for Soulbound (The Republic #4) by Archer Kay Leah (Playlist, Excerpt and Giveaway!)

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Soulbound

Soulbound (The Republic #4)

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Archer Kay Leah here today on tour for their latest story in The Republic series, Soulbound. Archer has brought along a Soulbound Playlist for all our readers to enjoy. Check it out below.

 

Soulbound Playlist – The Loving, the Hopeful, and the Sensual

Welcome, everyone! I’m Archer Kay Leah, author of LGTBQA+ romances with a fantastical kick (and sometimes even sci fi). Thanks for dropping by, and many thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today! ❤

One of the things I adore most is music, from way back in the times of Gregorian chant and before that all the way up to what’s new right now. Seriously, it’s my addiction, and it blends with my writing in a big way. Some authors prefer silence or shows/movies while they write, but I’m one who needs the right tunes on hand to ground me in the right moods and feelings while the creative process happens.

In a previous stop on the tour, I shared the major themes from the playlist for Soulbound, but today I’m sharing other sounds of the book, including love songs, the more hope-inspired tracks, and a few sensual tracks that hogged the limelight for a bit… or for at least a quarter of the book, actually.

Darren Hayes — Insatiable

First up is this sensual, seductive track from the lead singer of Savage Garden. The mood, tempo, and (most of) the lyrics are so perfect for Mayr and Tash. They’re a couple that doesn’t want to keep their hands off each other, or lips, or any part of the body, to be honest. They’re happiest when they’re left alone in the same room and just being them, no expectations, no judgment, no nothing to get in the way. This is a song for those who can’t get enough of intimate moments.

Ed Sheeran — Give Me Love

One of my favourite Ed Sheeran songs! I love how it’s put together, with a beautiful blend of music, vocal, and lyric. I can’t help but sing along, with a bit of my heart just sort of being tossed out with it. If Mayr and Tash ever decided to dance together, this would be a song they’d choose. The overall sound is definitely them, even though the lyrics don’t completely match up, but it works well with the constant yearning they have for each other. There’s the soft and tender part of the song, but then towards the end, it goes a bit harder, more… insistent, and plays out into a gentle, pleading end. Then the track switches over into “The Parting Glass,” an old, traditional piece that I also enjoy.

In some ways, this song would’ve been more suited for the second book in the series, Four, where Mayr and Tash first met. Though I think there’s a place for it here, because sometimes — at least in the beginning — even when they have each other, they pine for more because they haven’t quite reached the full force of their relationship. That comes with time, effort, and the willingness to finally surrender completely to what they have.

Enigma — Age of Loneliness & Enigma — Carly’s Song (Remix)

Two versions of the same song that I’ve loved since I was a teenager. Then again, it’s Enigma, which I adore. (It was because of an Enigma album that I fell in love with Gregorian chant!)

This song is a sensual, sexy piece in terms of sound and vibe. It’s always in my repertoire while writing romances or anything with intimate elements, particularly for sex scenes and even sparring scenes. With the original version of the song, “Age of Loneliness,” the rhythm and key kills me, the drums and beats are perfect, the vocals are entrancing and diverse like the music itself, and the way the different tracks are blended together is brilliant, with awesome timing of particular sounds that make the song special. It’s a feast for the ears and brain, one I feed off while writing and really sink into. “Carly’s Song (Remix)” is no less captivating, with its own sound, but never losing that sensual flavour. There were a few scenes in Soulbound that called for both versions, which I tended to alternate. Fun. Times.

Enigma — Return to Innocence

More Enigma, but this one was for the hope it speaks to. The encouragement. Courage. Self-acceptance and being true to oneself, no matter what others think. This song is uplifting, beautiful. It not only brings me to tears, it gives me goosebumps. There have been times when my confidence and self-esteem have hit terrible lows or grief and loss have hit so hard, I’ve cried-sung my way through this a few times to feel better. The music video is also a piece of art, with stunning images that tell a touching story.

This was great for Soulbound when Tash needed a boost of hope. Being in his head… sometimes it’s rough, and his soul just hurts. There are days where he hates himself, hates what he’s done, and fears the future. But there are bright moments, too, where he’s swept away into happy thoughts and devotion and things smooth out for a while, because he’s finding his redemption and peace in those around him. There were other scenes, too, where this song worked perfectly, though I can’t really talk about them without spoilers!

Joseph Trapanese (Insurgent Soundtrack) — Amity

Here’s one of my favourite pieces from the Insurgent soundtrack (second movie of the Divergent franchise), though I love the whole soundtrack, to be honest. Joseph Trapanese is a composer I’ve quickly come to treasure because he’s amazing. “Amity” is only one of his beautiful pieces, where everything is finely placed, the music is wonderfully played, there’s movement, there’s emotion, and it gives me wicked chills, right down through my legs. It makes my heart ache, my eyes tear up, and there’s a powerful force that comes through via the string ensemble, brief instances of percussion, the purr of the bass line, and other sounds mixed in.

With all of that, this song was great for scenes when characters were dealing with heavy emotions and tough choices. When their emotions were being pushed too far, but they kept holding onto hope and the will the fight. It’s a piece that conveys (to me, at least) strength, vulnerability, and determination.

Loreena McKennitt — Samain Night

One of my favourite Loreena McKennitt songs (though, okay, I have many). It kept coming up while I wrote, attaching itself to Mayr and Tash whenever they went into sweet and squishy mode. The song really stuck with them, enough that whenever I listen to it now, I associate it with them.

Maybe it’s the harp that did it, with the violin and the guitar and Loreena’s lovely voice. Maybe it was the lyrics and the title which connects to the Celtic Pagan holiday of Samhain (especially since the religion in The Republic series is inspired by Pagan beliefs and practices). Or maybe it’s just because the song is just so pretty and touching and these characters really couldn’t get enough. Either way, this song leaves me gutted with imagery and romantic notions.

Placebo — Running Up That Hill

Yes. Yes, yes, and yes! Sensual. Darkly sexy. Perfect for scenes where things get steamy.

This is only one of the many covers of Kate Bush’s song in my music library (plus Kate’s original and her remake of it, because I LOVE Kate Bush, always have — she’s brilliant), but this version is the only one with this particular feeling to it. It worked with Mayr and Tash so well, I kept playing it over and over and over… It just didn’t want to stop.

The Weeknd — As You Are

Here’s the first of a few songs by The Weeknd that made it to Soulbound‘s playlist because of their sensual groove. More and more, I’m turning to The Weeknd when I need tunes for intimate, romantic, and downright sexy scenes.

For this book, I tended to associate this song with what was going on between Mayr, Tash, and Arieve — all three of them, together, since they all suffer from a similar worry that they aren’t good enough for their lovers. Mayr and Tash have figured themselves out, for the most part, but Arieve hasn’t been as lucky. She’s struggling with her own relationship issues and some of the lyrics remind me of everything they’ve all gone through. This tune had all the right feels in terms of tone, rhythm, mood, and meaning of the song. They really do take each other as they are, challenges and flaws included.

The Weeknd — Love in the Sky

Easily one of my top favourites of The Weeknd’s, which will end up on several of my playlists because the sound of it is just Mmmm, yes, please. It hits all the right notes. The mood is very Mayr and Tash when they’re in hot-and-heavy mode. The lyrics don’t really apply to them, but I don’t care: the groove is where it’s at. Slow, sensual, delicious… It’s kind of (but so completely not) terrible how much a single track can still inspire me even after I’ve listened to it a few hundred times. Though my characters really don’t care, because they’ll make me listen to it a few more hundred times… and I’ll happily sing along.

The Weeknd — Where You Belong

After I heard this song once, I was hooked — still am, won’t lie. It’s got that lovely dark, delicious feel I adore from The Weeknd and I just can’t… stop… listening. Again, this one’s for when Mayr and Tash are alone and best left that way because they’ve gone X-rated. Though I think I may have had this going during that one time, at the tavern…

And with that little nugget, thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and comments. And if there are any songs that you particularly love, I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

Archer Kay Leah has a new MM/MMF fantasy romance book out:

In a relationship that violates rules and expectations, Mayr and Tash have found their perfect match in each other. Despite their fears and difficult pasts, they hope for a shared future with security and a family. When Mayr’s secret first love, Arieve, proposes they create that family with her, it seems dreams could become reality.

But life is complicated, and so is the delicate balance between duty and love. While Mayr protects the Dahe family at all costs, Tash is determined to succeed as a priest. Both positions require sacrifice, forcing their relationship into painful choices. To make matters worse, criminals lurk in the shadows, seeking revenge on them and those they guard.

The life they want risks losing everything—including Arieve and each other. Even if they can have it all, keeping it may take more than they can give.

Warnings: “Soulbound” contains some explicit content, references to self-harm, suicide, and mentions of suicide-related behavior and intent. This story also contains instances of graphic violence, references to rape and domestic abuse, and depictions and mentions of depression.

About the Series:

With the right people and the right price, the Republic of Kattal can be brought to its knees. But for every line crossed, someone waits on the other side, ready to push back.

Armed and ready to defend their lives, these heroes are not afraid of the fight. They stare adversity in the eye and dance with the darkness within. But in their justice, there is wisdom. In wisdom, there is protection. In it all, there is love. Sometimes it’s a matter of saving a village; sometimes it’s a matter of saving the one they can’t live without. Sometimes it’s just about doing the right thing and learning to love oneself.

Magic may lurk in the shadows. Crime may never sleep. But love doesn’t back down.

Less Than Three Press | Amazon | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Amazon International | Bookstrand | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


Giveaway

Archer is giving away three $10 Amazon gift cards with this tour – enter to win via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

Soulbound Meme 2 - Archer Kay Leah

Silence fell, deep with meaning conveyed by long gazes and soft smiles. Why had he expected Aeley to say anything different?

Three loud knocks rapped the door, scaring them both. Cursing under his breath, Mayr opened the door.

Arieve.

Every foul word tumbled back down Mayr’s throat. “Hey.” He leaned against the door, one arm sliding up the side.

In an instant, he tripped on his own feet and stumbled into the door, swinging it open further.

“You can’t possibly be drunk already.” The corners of Arieve’s eyes crinkled with her smile, her glossed lips painted pink like her cheeks. Dark curls and plaits cascaded over her shoulders, the firelight lending a golden hue to the white-blonde streaks in the fringe of hair across her forehead. She held a silver tray, presenting two glass goblets filled with a bluish-purple drink and fragments of gold leaf sprinkled on top. “Otherwise, this might be a bad idea.”

“What’s a bad idea?” Mayr grimaced, his mouth suddenly dry as if filled with pillow stuffing. Quick to recover, he smoothed his shirt, resettled his belts, and slicked back his hair, pretending he meant to be clumsy.

“Your after-dinner drinks. Lira was going to bring them, but I thought I’d save her the trip. She’s having fun trading stories with your mother.” Arieve cleared her throat. “I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”

The tray rattled in her hand. The drinks threatened to slosh over the rims.

Mayr steadied the tray. “Thanks for that. This. These.” He offered her an awkward smile and took the goblets. “I’ll let you get back.” So you won’t see me kick my own ass for being completely inappropriate.

“Thanks, Arieve,” Aeley called from her desk.

“You’re welcome.” Arieve hesitated as she lowered the tray. She swayed gently, the rich green layers of her tiered, ruffled skirts moving with her. “I’ll let you finish.”

Before Mayr could say anything else, Arieve hurried down the hall and around the corner.

“I wonder what the mix is this time.” Aeley snatched one goblet to sniff it. “Hint of gaffa nectar, soured pamolea extract, and a bite of fulore. Plus maybe, probably—” another sniff “—syrup from the Sailor’s Sweetheart bush.” She took a sip and nodded. Flakes of gold leaf clung to her top lip. “Not as fun as last night’s concoction, but I could get used to it.”

“That’s what you always say.” Mayr brushed the flakes from Aeley’s lips with his thumb.

Aeley wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Not always, just a lot. Cook knows her stuff. To be fair, she’s known me since I was three, getting into her puddings and tarts anytime she turned around. I trust that when she serves up a hodgeypodgey drink, it’s got personality.” She tapped her goblet against his. “I’m heading back to our guests. You should, too, considering it’s yourparty. We can resume this conversation later.”

After a kiss to his cheek, Aeley flounced out the door and through the corridor, humming to herself.

Mayr stared into his goblet, watching the gold swirl in an abstract pattern. My stomach. My head. I can’t even…

He set the goblet on Aeley’s desk. He needed Tash’s forgiveness more than he deserved a fancy drink.

As he exited the room, questions assaulted him hard enough to drown the sound of the door latch as it caught. One question practically shouted above all the others: how much had Arieve heard of his conversation with Aeley?

His heartbeat faltered. He was mortified. The door was not impervious to sound. What would Arieve think of him had she heard…

Hey, stupid! It doesn’t matter.Mayr grumbled and hooked his thumbs around the back of his belts. It still comes out to you’re taken and happy, so shut up.Dragging his heels, he wandered through the corridor and turned into the next, towards the ballroom.

Around the corner, Arieve leaned against the wall, head bowed, with her face hidden by her hair. She twined the trailing black laces of her bright green tunic around her fingers and pulled taut, then released them only to repeat the process. The empty tray rested beside her, abandoned against the wall.

“Hey.” Mayr stopped, careful to leave two foot lengths between them. “I thought you went back?” He toyed with his marriage ring, twisting the band nervously. Memories of Tash surged forward, the airy weight of his kisses almost real enough to feel.

“I wanted to wait for you.” Arieve raised her head and offered a tender smile. “I probably won’t get a word in the rest of the night given the company, so I thought…”

She was in his arms before he could reply. Her hug stole his surprise, shredding it until all that remained was stunned.

“Congratulations,” she murmured, her forehead tucked beneath his chin. “He’s got a good heart, solid. You’ve found your match. If the Four could grant me one wish tonight, it’d be for you two to have everything you desire.”

Mayr hesitated, his hands hovering over Arieve’s back. Touching was a bad idea, especially while he kept Tash from the truth. “Thank you.” Quick as he could, he embraced Arieve and pushed her away, feeling worse than the coward he was. “Let’s go back. I need to stop my mother from revealing every baby story she has or everyone’s going to hear about my naked backside and trailing diaper crowns.”

Arieve picked up the tray and started up the hall. “I’m sure Tash is soaking them up as we speak.” She laughed, the joyous sound digging up a dozen memories.

Memories he needed to lock up and burn down.

He followed Arieve and cast his gaze to the ceiling. Please, Reverent Goddesses, get me through tonight. Then let’s talk about strength of will, because one of these days I’m going to have to confess everything and it’ll hurt more than scorching my pride.


Author Bio

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.

Author Website: http://archerkayleah.wordpress.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://facebook.com/archerkayleah

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/archerkayleah

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ArcherKayLeah

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/archer-kay-leah/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/archerkayleah

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A VVivacious Review: Orc Haven by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

Vash is a female orc trying to survive the aftermath of Queen Nakuru’s death with her horde of children in tow. As the orcs gain freedom from the Queen’s control they find themselves thrust into an eventuality they wouldn’t have ever even dreamt of had the thought of being free from the Queen’s control ever entered their mind.

Imra is the Champion of the Free Races, the one who ends the life of Queen Nakuru and the one who pledges to create a new world where all species can live and prosper – the elves, the dwarves, the humans and… the orcs.

As Vash and Imra’s paths intersect they forge between themselves a companionship that threatens to be so much more.

This story starts where most fantasy stories end to tell a tale more fantastical than you could ever have imagined.

I truly enjoyed this story, it has a slow beginning but once the story really gets going, I had no way to apply brakes. This was just such a delightful tale and so unique.

Building a village, fostering relationships between species who were at war with each other until most recently seems like tedious work, mind-numbing work with victories few and far between. But the way this tale is told makes you realise that all this mind-numbing toil of working together of uplifting a species that got the short end of the stick is amazing because when there is so much good will and perseverance at play, things are stunning and immersive, almost magical.

I loved how we spend a lot of time in the beginning with Vash to truly experience her journey as she finds herself and begins to truly express herself and as she realizes there is room for a lot of good things in this brave new world. She comes to see her maggots as more and comes to love them in a way she has never let herself before. But what was truly magical was coming to the same realisations as Vash does about just how truly magical freedom is.

“Maybe being free to be whatever they wanted to be was much, much bigger than she had imagined.”

Imra is a champion who never believed she would be one. She truly finds it hard to believe that she attempted the feats she did let alone was actually successful at them. But even though she finds it hard to believe you realize it from the very beginning that Imra is strongest where it matters, in her heart and mind.

“And when he had been killed, if they had offered to take her home, would she have accepted? The answer she had come up with every single time was no. Even had she known all the horrors that awaited her the answer would have been no. If there was work to be done, she did it, whether it was fixing a fence, or killing a Dark Queen or saving orcs from extinction. She might be shitting her pants the entire way but she would still do it.”

Imra and Vash’s romance is a slow burn magical thing which blossoms in this story as a celebration but I feel it is very well balanced with all the other elements of the story which is very much like a fantasy novel about one unlikely hero on the journey to do the impossible. And as history would tell you I am a sucker for those.

This story was amazing, I found myself constantly teary eyed seeing all these people attempt such marvellous feats to leave a world much better than the one they were born in. There are a whole horde of characters in this book and they are all amazing.

This is an absolutely stunning story.

Cover Art by Anna Tiferet Sikorska. I loved the artwork on the cover and especially loved the font of the main title and how that light just hits you right in the eye. It is pretty amazing.

Buy Links

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 203 pages
Published October 13th 2018
ASINB07GVF4ZQ3

Release Blitz for Orc Haven by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Orc Haven

Author: Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Anna Tiferet Sikorska | tiferetdesign.com

Genre/s: Fantasy FF Romance

Heat Rating:  1 flame out of five (A romantic relationship between the couple but no intimate scenes or sexual situations are described in the book. The book fades-to-black before any love scene.)

Length: 73 000 words /225 pages

It is a standalone story.

Release Date: October 13, 2018

Goodreads Link

 

Buy Links

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

 

 

Blurb

The great war is over. The Dark Queen has fallen, slain by a dwarven champion as the prophecies foretold.

Still struggling with her transition from farmer’s daughter to Hero of the Free Races, Irma barters her newfound fame for the power to change things for the betterment of all – including her former enemies.

With the Dark Queen’s death, her subjugated orcs either succumbed to madness or were slain in battle. Only few orcs remain, and Irma has sworn to protect them, to help them find their place among the Free Races. One of them is Vash, a breeding mother from the pits, searching for a new home among the ruins of her old world with a tiny horde of orc children in tow.

When they meet, they discover that despite their differences in size, upbringing and race, they share the same hopes for the future. And while the odds they face seem overwhelming, the feelings growing between them may be strong enough to overcome them all.

From Rainbow-Award-winning authors Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus comes a sweet, happy f/f romantasy that begins where other epic fantasy novels end, a stand-alone novel about courage, hope, and the importance of family.

 

Excerpt

Vash sniffed the pale blue berry. It didn’t smell of much, but that might have been due to the fact that her fingers smelled so much stronger, sour with sweat. Cautiously, she bit into it and nearly spit it out when its sharp taste exploded on her tongue, tangy enough to prick like needles. She had to force herself to keep her mouth closed and wait. It didn’t burn, so that was good. Her only way of telling whether it was poisonous was to trust her instincts, and so far, they had proven surprisingly accurate.

Like those roots she had found her maggots chewing on once. She had told them to keep away, but ‘no’, they just had to. A few hours later, they had been whimpering about their belly aches. They had been lucky nothing worse had happened. They could have died. Or they could have been back in the pits, where they would have been thrashed – first for disobeying and then for whining.

With a shudder, Vash forced that thought away. They were all lucky to have gotten out.

She swallowed the bit of berry and waited for that queasy feeling she got whenever she tried something inedible. Surprisingly few things out here were. The orcs‘  fabled constitution apparently also applied to being able to eat almost anything. Until their escape from the pits, she had never eaten anything but the slop cooked in their huge, grimy kettles. All the food delivered to them from outside went into those pots and was cooked until it didn’t taste of much at all. Even when their guardians had been set on slim rations, they had still received plenty. Vash were more important to the war effort than some stupid grunt that could easily be replaced. Vash were who made those replacements. They were the rarest kind of orc – those who could breed.

Her stomach grumbled angrily, but it was a pang of hunger, not nausea. Vash smiled. The berries were good and there were several bushes of them. A single one didn’t bear many fruits, but all together, they would feed the maggots tonight. And, if she managed to reign them in, they might even have some for tomorrow. She popped the other half into her mouth, and this time, she welcomed the taste. She started picking the bushes clean, gathering the berries into the makeshift bundle she had made of a tattered cloak.

Her own clothes were a ragged mix, the simple, coarse shift she had been wearing in the pits and whatever she had picked up since – a pair of sturdy leather pants that were a little too short, and a thick, padded tunic which she wore over the shift. Her lower arms and her feet were wrapped in rags both for warmth and protection. She’d even found a pair of fitting boots on a corpse a few days ago.

 

 

About the Authors

Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus are a couple currently living their happily ever after in the very heart of Germany, under the stern but loving surveillance of their cat.

Both of them are voracious but picky readers, they love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, they write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of their happiness with their readers.

An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of the duo.

An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website 

Facebook

Twitter: @brackhaus  

Goodreads

 

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

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A Free Dreamer Review: Of Gallantry and Magic by Alex Hintermann

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Sir Tristan, son of a continental hero, is summoned to the court of Schafheim to interview for a novice knight position. After dozens of applications to courts all over the Continent, Lord Schafheim wants to see him. Immediately. But when he arrives for the interview, things start to go wrong: a brash, bearded commoner ties his dragon too close to Sir Tristan’s firebreather and refuses to move it. This same commoner offers to love Tristan in the way he has always desired.

Magic, knights, dragons, and a promise of forbidden love – what could possibly go wrong? Well, for “Of Gallantry and Magic” the answer is a lot. I really thought this book was going to be amazing, but sadly this book was very disappointing.

First of all, I really didn’t like the writing style. It’s supposed to be historical but it just felt so very fake to me. I can’t even say why. From what I can tell, it was mostly accurate and the editing was well done too. But it just really, really bothered me and made it impossible for me to get into the flow of the story. I was constantly distracted and just couldn’t concentrate on the book.

Then, I just couldn’t stand Tristan. He was an ignorant, arrogant, self-important, pompous ass. And whiny. He infuriated me and I just wanted to smack him. Hard.

Because of this, the romance part didn’t work either. I don’t see what that “vexing commoner” saw in the good Sir Tristan. But we don’t learn much about him either. He, like all the other characters, stayed very flat.

The biggest let-down of all was probably the fantasy part. I love dragons. But in close to 200 pages, we only get a couple of scenes with the dragons in them, and not even as the main focus. There was real promise there. The author obviously came up with lots and lots of different dragons, of all shapes and sizes. But instead of really exploring that part of the story, it’s just mentioned in passing and then gets ignored completely for the rest of the book.

As for the actual plot, well, the blurb says it all, really. Not much else actually happens in this story and I’m still not sure what I actually read. I can’t tell you if this was supposed to be a coming-of-age story, an enemies-to-lovers thing or something completely different.

Long story short, I did not like this book. It had great potential but didn’t go anywhere. If you are thinking about buying this book anyway, I’d recommend you to read an excerpt first. If you like the writing style, I think you can like the book.

The cover looks alright. It obviously shows a scene from the book and I think the two men fit the description of the MCs pretty well.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book info: ebook, 196 pages

Published September 15th 2018 by self

New Book Release Blitz for A Dance of Water and Air ( Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: A Dance of Water and Air

Series: Elemental Magicae, Book One

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83600

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, fantasy, trans, magic, elements, court intrigue, arranged marriage, friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

Arden is the younger brother of Aither’s queen and a wielder of Air magic. Raised in the politics of the court to support his sister’s rule, he understands the alliance is important to Aither, even as he worries about his sister marrying someone she’s never met. When Edmund arrives in Aither to prepare for the wedding, Arden is tasked with helping him settle in at court. As they spend more time together, Edmund and Arden develop a close friendship, then stronger feelings, but with Edmund’s wedding approaching, they must hide their feelings, even from themselves.

When someone tries to assassinate the queen, Edmund is blamed, and Arden rescues him before he can be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. To prevent a war between their kingdoms and protect them from a dangerous enemy, Edmund and Arden will have to discover who wants to pit Aither and Thalassa against each other and mend relations between the two kingdoms as they evade those searching for them—all while finding a way to be together.

Excerpt

The Dance of Water and Air
Antonia Aquilante © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund swam, long limbs slicing through the clear, warm water. His mind quieted in the repetitive motion, in the weightlessness and the comfort of being surrounded by his Element. Everything washed away, leaving him calm and relaxed, the only time he ever was lately.

If only he could stay there.

He imagined it for a moment. Spending his life swimming and sailing. All his time in the soothing embrace of the water, or at the shore or bank, feeling Water’s power, learning to use its magic. It was a lovely dream. A lovely, impossible dream. With that thought, tension—the tension his morning swim had briefly dispelled—came flooding back. He stopped swimming and flipped onto his back, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before letting it out in a long sigh.

The sigh had barely left him when he heard the scrape of a shoe against stone. He bit back another sigh and flipped over again to straighten and tread water in the center of the large pool. His secretary stood on the tiled terrace. Peregrine knew better than anyone that this time was Edmund’s and wouldn’t disturb him unless it was urgent. Disaster or grave injury were top of the list.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning, Highness.” Peregrine would never call him by name when someone else might hear, and Edmund would never try to convince him otherwise. Edmund was far too aware of the dictates of his own position. And far too grateful to have found a friend in Peregrine to quibble overly about how they had to behave in public. “I apologize for disturbing you, sir, but the king has called for you.”

A summons from Father certainly counted as a valid reason to disturb him, especially with the rising tensions between Thalassa and their neighbor, Tycen. It seemed Edmund would be cutting his swim short this morning. He struck out for the terrace where Peregrine waited, swimming with steady but unhurried strokes. He wouldn’t dawdle, but if there had been reason to rush, Peregrine would have said.

Soon enough, he reached the terrace and pulled himself up to sit on the edge. Peregrine handed him a towel. He wiped his face first and stood to strip off his soaking wet swim pants and dry the rest of him. Peregrine wouldn’t care about Edmund’s nudity, and he didn’t worry that someone else would come upon them. The pool he chose for his swims wasn’t the largest of the many on the palace grounds, but it was the most private. The terrace they stood on was the only one that connected to the palace, and it was shaded from view. The rest of the area was screened with trees and shrubbery. The smaller terraces on the side opposite them were even more secluded. He’d spent much time in the pool, which was fed by the same underground spring as the rest of the palace waterways, and on the terraces over the years.

Once Edmund was dry, Peregrine handed him the robe he’d left hanging over the back of a chair when he’d arrived. He’d also left a book there—he’d been far too optimistic about his time when he came down here, apparently. He thanked Peregrine and shrugged into the blue-green silk. It was new, something he hadn’t really needed, but he liked the color against his brown skin and the feel of the smooth, cool silk.

“Any idea what my father needs?” Edmund stepped into his sandals and picked up his book from the table.

“None.”

He raised his eyebrow at Peregrine in surprise. Edmund could always rely on Peregrine for more information than seemed possible about everyone from the maids to the king. He’d long since gotten over any misgivings about Peregrine’s seeming omniscience and begun to rely on it. For Peregrine not to have an inkling of what was brewing… Odd. And slightly disturbing.

“I guess we’ll find out.”

Not immediately, of course. A summons through official channels called for more formality. Edmund couldn’t appear in the king’s presence in nothing but a thin robe and sandals. Peregrine kept pace as Edmund walked to his rooms, informing him of other court news and gossip that he might find interesting or useful as they walked.

Edmund’s rooms were a floor up from the garden pool. A guard stationed near the door jumped to open it for Edmund as he approached. He nodded but didn’t slow as he sailed through the door, Peregrine at his heels. His sandals made soft tapping sounds on the green and white tile of the entryway. His sitting room opened up in front of him, curtains fluttering in the breeze blowing in off the ocean below. He had no time to relax there or even to eat the breakfast that was sure to be laid out in the dining room. Instead, he turned left, taking the short hallway leading to his bedchamber, dressing room, and bathing room.

He went directly to the bathing room. Wide windows let in sunlight over the large tub, empty because he usually bathed after breakfast. There was no time to fill it, let alone soak. He settled for rinsing the salt from his skin with water from the basin and briskly rubbed a towel over his shoulder-length hair. Having it drip all over his clothing while he met with Father just wouldn’t do. When he’d squeezed as much of the water from it as he could, he left the towel and went to the dressing room.

Peregrine was there, laying out clothes.

“That isn’t your job,” Edmund said.

“I’m aware.”

“I can select my own clothing.”

“I’m aware of that as well. Put them on anyway.”

Edmund laughed and did as he was told. Peregrine was only saving him time and knew what would be appropriate for him to wear, considering the meeting with Father and the day ahead. He pulled on undergarments and slim gray pants and dropped a sleeveless white shirt over his head. Peregrine held out a dark teal jacket for him, helping him shrug into the embroidered silk. Edmund murmured his thanks and fastened the jacket over his chest, fingers working quickly over the row of little silver buttons. When he was finished, he stepped into shoes and fastened the silver and aquamarine drop earrings Peregrine had just pulled from their box into his ears. It was the only jewelry Peregrine had chosen, and as he looked in the mirror, Edmund had to admit he was probably right in that. The clothing didn’t need more.

“Thank you,” Edmund said.

“My pleasure, Edmund.”

“Perhaps I should have you dress me every day. You have an eye for it. Much better than anyone else. Do you think you’d prefer it to being my secretary?”

Peregrine sent a stern frown at Edmund. “Funny.”

It was, for any number of reasons. Only one being that Peregrine was frighteningly efficient in his present position and far too good at it to do anything else. In fact, he was far too skilled to be anything except a royal secretary, and it was Edmund’s good fortune to have him.

“Shall we?” Peregrine didn’t mention that Edmund shouldn’t keep Father waiting, but he didn’t have to.

“Yes. Catch me up on any changes to my schedule as we walk.”

Peregrine did so, barely consulting his notebook. Edmund listened carefully as they left his rooms and strode through the palace corridors. His own wing, reserved for the rooms of the royal children, was quiet as it was only occupied by him and Kerenza. His sister would still be abed—she preferred to rise late when she had the opportunity—and he had no appointments that might bring anyone to his office until later in the day. When they passed out of the wing, the entrance marked by a three-tiered fountain decorated in mosaics of blue and green tiles, the corridors became more populated. But everyone gave way for the prince and his secretary, bowing as Edmund passed them.

Father’s office was near the council chambers and other administrative offices in the main block of the palace. He worked sometimes in the small private library attached to his rooms, but all his official meetings took place here. If Edmund had any doubt that today’s summons was serious and formal, it would have been dispelled by the location of the meeting.

Peregrine knocked when they arrived, and a moment later, the door was opened by Father’s secretary, who bowed and stepped aside. Edmund bowed slightly as soon as he entered the room, then walked closer to Father’s desk. Peregrine remained back near the closed door. Father looked up from the papers he was examining to study Edmund with a keen eye. Edmund was sure Father was cataloging every detail of his appearance from his attire to his still damp hair.

Father was dressed formally, as Edmund would expect. His jacket was green, heavily embroidered in gold and white, the color vivid against his dark skin. The circlet of his rank sat on his head amid black curls now streaked with gray. Edmund had not worn his own circlet, deeming it unnecessary for the day he had planned; he hoped he wouldn’t regret that decision. The set of Father’s features caused Edmund’s stomach to churn unpleasantly.

“You called for me, Father?”

“Yes. Come sit down. I need to speak with you.” The seriousness of his tone did nothing to alleviate Edmund’s sudden concern.

Edmund took the chair across from Father’s desk, hoping he properly concealed his anxiety. He’d been trained all his life to mask every emotion, so he’d best be able to. He looked at Father and waited for him to speak.

“As you know, we’ve been pursuing an alliance with Aither,” Father said.

And, of course, Edmund did know, though he hadn’t been involved in the negotiations. Aither sat at their western border. Theirs was generally a friendly border to begin with, trade flowing freely between the two countries, but Father and his council had hoped that the looming threat of Tycen’s aggression might worry Aither’s young queen as much as it had them and would tempt her into an alliance. Edmund hadn’t been informed about the state of the negotiations in some time. Had they gone horribly wrong?

“We’ve come to an agreement with Queen Hollis.”

“You—” Edmund stopped. He’d been so sure Father was going to say just the opposite that he couldn’t believe what he’d heard. “That’s wonderful, Father. Did the final agreement go as you’d hoped?”

“We got what we needed from it.”

“Good.” And yet the relief Edmund should’ve been feeling didn’t come. Father didn’t look as if he’d just concluded a successful negotiation, didn’t look as if he was pleased by the outcome. Or…no, not as if he was displeased, but too serious. “Is something wrong?”

“Not at all. However, the promises of increased trade and mutual protection were not enough on their own to secure the alliance we needed.”

Edmund wasn’t surprised, though he hadn’t been privy to the particulars of what Father wanted, aside from Aither standing with them should Tycen press their aggression. “What did they ask for?”

“Queen Hollis and her advisors required more assurance of our compliance, and truth be told, I wasn’t upset to have more of theirs. They’re Air wielders, so they’re different from us, but Water and Air are compatible. Even if I would have preferred an alliance with no deeper entanglements.”

“Father?” A rush of cold spread through Edmund’s veins.

“You and Queen Hollis will wed with the expectation of a child being born within two years. The alliance will be secured by blood and all the stronger for it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press, LLC | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Catching up with Matthew Lang! On Golems and his new release Dragonslayer (guest post, and excerpt)

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Dragonslayer (Twitterlight #1) by Matthew Lang

DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:

Amazon | Amazon UK Amazon AU| B&N | Kobo DSP Publications

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Matthew Lang back again to tell us what’s going on in his literary life  and fill us in on Dragonslayer.  Welcome, Matthew.

♦︎

 

Catching up with Matthew Lang – Where are my golems?

It’s been a bit over the year since we sat down with Matthew and his novella, Better with Bacon, and he talked a bit about his writing processes, his characters and his future plans. Now he’s back with a new book, Dragonslayer and we decided to catch up and see what’s been happening since we last spoke.

Last time you were here you talked about finishing up your Golem story. Your current book is called Dragonslayer. Did something happen to the golems? Are there golem dragons? Or do the golems slay the dragons?

Ha! No, the golems don’t slay the dragons, but now I’ve got plot bunnies. The golem story is actually a different story that’s under consideration at a few publishers. Dragonslayer was on the backburner last year, but well, it got published first. The golems are hopefully coming at some point though. There may also be more dragons.

You also talked about experimenting with writing a dating simulation game. Did that happen to?

I just started toying with it again, actually. I was looking at doing something with Bushrangers in Australia, but the amount of research that would require made me try something…simpler. At least until I work out what I can do in Twine or RenPy. Honestly, I’ve written less than 3000 words there just to try to work out how to branch stories out and bring them back in to make something manageable. It’s an entirely different to a novel, but I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to bring you all a different way to experience a gay romance.

You say you had Dragonslayer on the backburner last year. What made you put it aside?

It had been sitting with Voyager for a while to see if they wanted it, but it had been a few years and I couldn’t get hold of anyone there. I was pitching the golem story and DSP weren’t looking for Urban fantasy stories, but they were looking for fantasy and well… now they’re publishing Dragonslayer. I did take some time to go over it again though. Most of it stood up, but I think my writing’s matured over the last few years and some of it needed refining.

Based on the blurb—and cover—Dragonslayer has a modern man as a protagonist in a medieval fantasy world and plot. Why did you make that choice?

Oh wow. Um. This is going to sound pretentious, but I wanted to interrogate the ‘rescue the princess’ narrative and other fantasy story tropes, and the best way I could think of to do it was to bring in a character outside of fantasy society with modern ideals who wouldn’t accept everything at face value. Of course, I didn’t think of it in those terms. I just wanted to see how a modern gay man would react to a rescue the princess quest. As in an actual female royal princess. I’m only really able to be pretentious with the benefit of hindsight. Or lots of pre-planning.

If you want the full story, that was actually something I talked about on the first stop of this blog tour over at MM Good Book Reviews, so people can check that out if they haven’t already.

Do you usually write to answer questions like that? To explore and explain how people react?

I guess? I mean, that’s what stories are at the end of the day, isn’t it? Take a specific person, put them in a specific place under specific circumstances and see how they react. And maybe it’ll be entertaining, maybe it’ll be emotionally resonant, maybe we’ll learn something. The best writing, I think, does all three. I just find that writing let’s me question things society considers normal. For Better with Bacon I wanted to look at bisexuality, bi-erasure and to lesser degrees the way romance as a genre dwells heavily in miscommunication or poor communication and wanted to see what would happen if my characters were actually able to adult. Turns out it’s a much shorter story when everyone can adult, but that’s okay. For Dragonslayer I wanted to look at things like damselling of princesses, and in a sense I wanted to write a story where dragons were scary again. There’s a long standing trend that I’ve noticed where we as a culture take scary things and make them our friends. We make them cute. We make them not scary. Maybe it’s a way to live with the fear – we imagine that we could befriend it. Tame it. Harness its power. I wanted to write a story where the monster was a monster, and being afraid was survival.

Are there any scenes that didn’t make it into the story?

Absolutely. I think I’ve redrafted Dragonslayer more times than any other story I’ve written. My initial draft was written when I was watching lot of Man Vs. Wild and I made Adam far too competent because I thought it would be great to show him doing cool survival stuff. Not necessarily straining elephant poo though a sock for drinking water, but you know, hunting and building shelters and all that. Turns out having a competent, survival wise and combat ready hero made for a very dull story. It wasn’t quite Gary-Stuish but him being too competent and having time to plan at the beginning meant he didn’t get much of a character arc originally. I threw out that draft after about 60,000 words of going absolutely nowhere. There were entire chapters in the Caverns of Aergon—the place where Princess Esmeralda is from—and we don’t see inside of them in the finished book. It just wasn’t needed.

We did some spying on your new bio on the DSP Publications site, and it mentions people being able to have their own adventures in the world of Twitterlight—which is the setting for Dragonslayer. What does that mean, exactly?

Ah, well. I’m a gamer nerd, as I think I mentioned last time. And since Dragonslayer was sitting on the backburner for ages and I wasn’t sure if I was going to pitch it elsewhere, I started using it as a setting to run some games of Dungeons and Dragons for some of my friends. Since Dragonslayer now coming out as a book, I’m probably going to release a version of the world for other people to play their own games in. I like the idea of there being an explicitly queer friendly and inclusive setting for people to inhabit while they play a game, and I’ve created one almost by accident. I don’t know if people know much about D&D, but it’s essentially collaborative storytelling. I find it’s a great way to challenge yourself as a storyteller, and I like to think it’s made me a better writer. I’ll have more of that on my website when it’s ready. The nice thing, I suppose, is that my friends really seem to like the world of Dragonslayer and most of the pre-ordered the book to scour for world lore. Even the straight guys. I hope I don’t scar them for life with all the mansex.

EXCERPT

Many bumps and swipes from branches later, the group finally emerged at the top of a cliff, next to a thundering waterfall. The break in the vegetation was so sudden that Adam reared back, tugging at the reins frantically as the lizard thundered toward the brink, causing Zoul to turn and chirp at him quizzically. At the sound, the others reined in just ahead.

“Come, we’re nearly there,” Darius said, raising his voice to be heard over the sound of the waterfall cascading over the edge of the precipice.

“Nearly where? It’s a sheer drop!” Adam objected, forcing himself to relax his death grip on the reins long enough to rub the sweat from his eyes, leaving a muddy smear across his forehead.

“We have a waystation at the foot of the cliff,” Darius said patiently. “It’s used by our scouts, so there will be supplies there.”

“And we’re going to what? Walk straight off the cliff?”

“Not off. Over,” Xavier said, urging his mount forward. “Just hold on tight and make sure you’re clipped in.”

With that, the magister leaned low over his lizard’s back and disappeared over the edge of the cliff, the others in tow.

“Did they just…? They didn’t just…? But that’s….”

“They’re cave lizards,” Duin said, his voice low and strangely gentle. “Look at Zoul’s feet. He will not fall, and if you do not panic, you will not fall either. And if you do not panic, I will not fall with you.”

Adam glanced down at the great lizard’s feet and noticed for the first time that they were sprawled like outspread hands and, instead of claws, ended in bulbous toes more reminiscent of a frog’s than a lizard’s. Pausing to check that he was still securely fastened into his saddle, Adam took a deep, steadying breath.

“Hold on tight, all right?” he said.

“As if my life depends on it,” Duin replied gravely.

“It sort of does, you know.”

“Yes, I know.”

Adam laughed at that, a short sharp laugh, tinged with hysteria at the edges. “This is crazy. I can’t believe I’m seriously about to ride off the edge of a cliff.”

“Not off, over,” Duin repeated. “Or down, to be more precise.”

“I don’t know how you can be so calm about this.”

Adam felt the furred man shrug. “It was a normal part of growing up,” Duin said. “I rode a hatchling up and down the cavern walls for hours on end when I was younger—before I was cast into the light, I mean.”

“Cast into…. You mean here, the surface?”

Duin nodded. “Yes. Trust me, we will be fine.”

Some of the furred man’s calm must have rubbed off on him, because Adam’s legs trembled only slightly as he squeezed his knees gently, urging Zoul into a slow walk that took them step by reptilian step closer to the edge. For a moment, Adam saw only the lack of ground that was fast approaching, and then the view opened up, with the red of the sky and the sun hanging over the horizon in the exact same place it had been when they started their trek. Below them, a sea of never-ending foliage stretched out to meet the dusk, the wending curves of the river disappearing into the mass of green. Strange bellowing cries rang out from the forest below, and small flights of the rhomboid fliers were flitting through the foliage. Then the pressure of Duin’s body on his reminded him that gravity would soon be coming into play, and he dropped down so he was nearly flat against Zoul’s back.

“That view was beautiful,” he murmured as Duin’s grip on his belt firmed and the man’s body pressed more closely against his own.

“It was? I… suppose it was. I never thought of it that way before.”

“Maybe you just see it too often,” Adam suggested.

“No,” Duin said slowly. “I do not think I ever have. When I look at the land, I see ambush sites, hunting grounds, places to forage, and cover where I can travel without being seen. I have never stopped just to look at the view.”

“Oh.”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Helping me see it.”

Adam smiled tightly. “Keep me alive long enough to keep seeing it and I’ll consider us even.”

~*~

Thanks for reading and sticking it out this far down the post! As part of the launch celebration, I’m giving away an ebook from my backlist here. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me about a monster or creature that used to be scary, but has now become softer, fuzzier, and friendlier. Bonus points if you think it’s one that could use a reinvention as its original scary self! One random commenter will win a book here—and I’ll be over at Love Bytes tomorrow, the 27th of September with another chance to win.

Dragonslayer

A Twitterlight Story

Kill the dragon, marry the princess, and rule the kingdom. It’s a fantasy come true… if you’re straight.

Adam is a chemistry student and martial artist, active in his local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. But none of that prepares him to be the savior of a faraway land locked in perpetual dusk.

In a world of shape-shifters, necromancy, and religious politics, Adam is fated to slay the golden dragon, Khalivibra, and defeat its mind-controlling sorcery to help Princess Esmeralda of Aergon retake her city. Tradition dictates he’ll rule by her side—but Adam is much more interested in Duin, a warrior who changes to beast form in the light of the sun… or fire.

Adam hopes he and Duin might end up together when their ordeal ends. But first, the reluctant hero, the spell-casting heir to the throne, the beast-shifting object of Adam’s desire, a six-legged cave lizard, and any allies they can gather must do the impossible… and live to celebrate their victory.

Amazon | Amazon UK Amazon AU| B&N | Kobo DSP Publications

 

 

About the Author

Matthew Lang likes being on the run. Sometimes for health, but more often to see another country or culture. Preferably in person, but more frequently in his mind’s eye through the written word. Matthew likes his men hot and spunky, his focaccia more Italian than British, and his vampires to combust when exposed to sunlight. His nurses say that rumours of him escaping his straightjacket are absolute nonsense and he definitely hasn’t been let loose amongst the population of Melbourne, Australia, no matter what the internet says.

Connect with Matthew: Twitter | Facebook Website

 

Follow the Tour!

18th September MM Good Book Reviews – The Origin of Stories

20th September Sue Brown Stories – Why Fantasy?

25th September Nicki J Markus – The Offering

26th September Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words – Catch up with Matthew Lang

27th September Love Bytes – How to Cook Tarantula in 7 easy steps

28th September My Fiction Nook – The Winged Traveller Guide to Aer Goragon

1st October DSP Blog – Do Haerunwoln Have Pouches?