This is an unedited draft of chapter 1 – it might change before publication after edits, but I wanted to share my work in progress with you. I hope you enjoy!
It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted chapter 1 (again). I hope you’re ready for Etta’s return! If you haven’t read the first 3 books, this is your spoiler alert warning: Don’t start with this. Read the other 3 first. And with that out of the way, I give you Chapter 2.
Chapter 1 – Unedited / Work in Progress …. Enjoy!
Court of Memories is now available for Pre-Order on Amazon and releases on December 24th.
Magic comes with a price. If Cassia wants a happily ever after in the Fae realm, she’ll have to join a brutal fight for a crown she doesn’t even want.
Cassia is so close to the life she always wanted. A changeling who was always out of place in the human world, she is on her way to finding love, magic, and happiness with four Fae princes. The monster threat against her life has been contained. For now. But they are attracted to her power and her untrained magic, and it’s a race against time before they break through again.
And the monsters aren’t the only ones trying to kill Cassia. The Queen’s Trial is approaching, and her power makes her a target and a threat to the other noble houses vying to be queen.
With her enemies piling up and only Four Fae Princes on her side she’s running out of options. There’s only one rule in Queen’s Trial: Survive.
I’m so excited for this book! Less than a month to release day! Court of Secrets is a Reverse Harem Fantasy – it’s different from anything I’ve done before – but if you like fantasy, romance, political intrigue, and a story where the heroine doesn’t have to make a choice between the four sexy princes, this is the book for you! Keep reading to get a preview of the first two chapters of the book. (more…)
It’s Release Week! Shades of Fae is Live!
I am so excited about this week’s launch of the Shades of Fae multi-author box set! There are 23 amazing full-length novels in the set and it’s only .99 this week!
Hunted, book one of a brand new series, is exclusively in this set for the next 3 months. Keep reading to get a peek at chapter one.
Make sure you download your copy of the Shades of Fae box set before the price goes up!
Hunted, Chapter One
The bell on the door chimed and I set down the glass I was washing. “Kitchen’s closed if you’re looking for food. Last call for drinks in five minutes.”
The newcomer brushed the snow off of his dark coat, then lowered the hood.
For a moment, my eyes widened and my lips parted in surprise before I caught myself. Needing an excuse to turn away, I picked the glass back up and put it on the shelf behind me. My hands trembled and I tucked them in my apron pocket before I turned around to face him.
I was met by violet eyes staring at me. His long blonde hair hung loosely around his angular face. He was stunning. One of the most beautiful faces I’d ever seen. I blinked, breaking my eyes away from his, reminding myself he wasn’t human, and he was dangerous.
The Fae set something on the bar top, then sat down at a stool. I glanced down and saw that the object he’d set down was a long iron stake. My heart thundered in my chest. Not only was he Fae, he carried the tool of a hunter. Alarm bells were blaring in my head as I thought back to everything I’d done to cover my trail over the last seven years. I’d built a home here. Nobody knew I was here illegally. Nobody knew I was half dark fae, escaped from the Dark Realm.
“Never seen an iron stake before?”
My eyes were still locked on the object on the counter. I shook my head and looked up at the Fae. “No, not in real life.”
That was a lie, of course. In my father’s court in the Dark Realm, iron stakes were used to keep his subjects in a constant state of fear.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “They’re only deadly to those with Fae blood.”
“Like you?” The words left my mouth before I could think them through.
He smiled, then pulled off his gloves, setting them on top of the stake. “You’re astute for a human.”
“Mage.” I shrugged my shoulders, thankful that my mother had been a mage. It was a good excuse for covering up my occasional slip ups when I did something that humans shouldn’t be able to do. The magic I used to mask my dark fae heritage kept me from giving off any magical signature so I often let on that I was human. In this case, it was better if he knew I had some magic just in case I slipped.
He nodded, then leaned in closer to me.
I held my breath and the hair on my arms stood on end at his closeness.
“Any chance I can get something from the kitchen? Even a cold sandwich?” He winked.
I let out a nervous relief sound that resembled a laugh. He probably thought I was flirting with him, which was fine by me. Taking a deep breath, I smiled. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Escaping to the kitchen was a relief after being so close to a hunter. It was the first time I’d seen a hunter alive. In my father’s court in the Dark Realm, captured hunters were decapitated, their heads left on spikes outside the palace walls.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to shake the memories of my prior life. When I left there, I wasn’t sure what I was doing. It had been the day after my older sister had been killed. She was three days away from her twenty-fifth birthday, the age when our father no longer owned us according to dark fae law.
My father had never had a single half-fae child that made it to that age and I never thought I’d live to see my twenty-fifth birthday. Now that I was six months away, the only thing I wanted was to stay hidden until I was old enough. I just needed to stay alive and out of the Dark Realm for six more months. A hunter in my place of work wasn’t a good sign. Right now, I just needed to keep him happy and get him to leave.
The kitchen was empty, the cook sent home two hours ago when we stopped food service. I walked past the line toward the walk-in cooler and stepped inside. There had to be something I could throw together so he would eat, and go away.
On the bottom shelf, I spotted a few boxes of cheesecake and pulled one of them out. I’d been working at Lou’s bar for five years, starting out as a server, which meant I’d made all the desserts any of my tables ordered. It was the only thing I knew how to make in the kitchen.
“Jess, is that you?” Lou called out from his office.
“Just me,” I said.
He came around the corner and stopped next to the counter. He wore a baseball cap over his dark hair which looked out of place with the slacks and the oxford shirt he was wearing. At least he’d taken off the tie.
Lou was only a few years older than me and had inherited this bar from his father, also named Lou. They were one of the few human families that moved to Realm’s Gate after the Dragon Queen’s Awakening which led to supernatural beings forced out into the open.
The chaos that followed in the wake of the battle with the Dragon Queen was also what allowed me to sneak out of the Dark Realm with few complications. It seemed like so much longer than seven years ago.
Despite being human, and despite being almost as new to Realm’s Gate as me, Lou never seemed out of place here. It was his home and this bar was the most important thing to him.
Lou looked at the cheesecake on the plate in front of me. “Your roommate back from her trip?”
I laughed. Lou had been flirting with my roommate for years but still couldn’t get up the confidence to ask her out. “No, she’s gone for a few more weeks.” I lowered my voice to a whisper. “Hunter, he asked for food.”
“You sure he’s a hunter?” Lou asked.
I nodded. “Iron stake and all.”
“Huh.” Lou walked past me to the kitchen doors, pushing them open.
I wasn’t sure why he wanted to go talk to the hunter, but maybe it meant that I’d be able to clock out and let Lou take over serving him. Even in Realm’s Gate, the largest city of magical beings in the country, hunters were rare.
After I put the cheesecake box back in the walk-in, I carried the slice I’d plated back to the bar.
Lou sat on a stool next to the hunter and the two of them were engaged in a conversation that looked like it had been going on for hours. Lou was just one of those people who everybody liked and he was good at striking up conversations, well, with the exception of my roommate, Paige. In fact, in the years of working for him, I’d nearly slipped and told him the truth once or twice. I’d made it a rule to never drink around him. You didn’t want to lower your inhibitions around Lou if you had something to hide. He didn’t do it on purpose, he was just a people-person. He’d talk to anyone.
“Hope you like cheesecake,” I said as I set the plate down in front of the hunter, careful to avoid the iron stake.
“Thanks, Jess,” the hunter said.
My skin prickled and I blinked at him a few times. “I never told you my name.”
The hunter slapped Lou on the back. “Lou was telling me all about your first week as a waitress.”
Lou and the hunter laughed as if sharing an inside joke. My first week had been miserable, I was lucky to still have a job after making the mistakes I had, but I didn’t understand how it became the topic of conversation.
“That’s nice. And your name is?” I didn’t have Lou’s people skills. Without taking my eyes off of him, I grabbed a roll of silverware from the stack under the bar and held it out.
The hunter smiled and took the silverware from me. “It’s Roan.”
“He’s an actual hunter,” Lou said the same way someone might revere a famous rock star.
I shifted my weight and crossed my arms over my chest. “Yeah, I figured that out.”
Hunters used to operate in the shadows, but a few years ago, they were given special permits to do their jobs within the confines of human law enforcement.
Humans didn’t like sending in their people against criminals who were immortal by their standards. So, in came the hunters. With the power of both the supernatural world and the human world in their hands. In my opinion, it was taking things too far and I didn’t trust any supernatural being who was willing to work enforcing the laws of humans.
“He’s after an illegal supernatural being.” Lou’s face lit up like a small child learning curse words for the first time.
My blood ran cold. Why was the hunter telling Lou that?
Before I could say anything, Lou started talking again, but I didn’t hear what he was saying. I was too worried that Roan was here for me.
Lou laughed at something he’d said and Roan joined in. I smiled at them, trying to pretend like I’d heard the joke.
“Thanks for the food,” Roan said, wiping his mouth on the napkin. He pulled his wallet out of his pocket.
“No need,” Lou said. “On the house. Stop by any time.”
“That’s very kind of you,” Roan said. He pulled a few bills out and set them on the counter in front of me, then winked. “Thanks, Jess.”
Words failed me as I watched him walk out the front door.
It’s been almost a year since the last Illaria book came out. I had to take a break from the series for a while, but now I’m ready to dive back in! To prepare, I’ll be re-reading all three of the Illaria books so I can get myself in the right head space for reuniting with these characters. I’m looking forward to going back to Illaria and completing Etta’s story.
Right now, I’m in the outlining and planning stage, but I’ll start writing it very soon. These books took me a lot longer to write than the urban fantasy books I’ve written. I’m not sure how much of that was experience and how much of that was the fact that I find the Illaria books a bit more complicated to write due to the varied plot lines and the way the characters interact.
As soon as I have a completed first draft, I’ll get the pre-order up on Amazon, so I can share an exact release date. In the meantime, I hope the cover (isn’t it amazing?!) and this preview of book four can help ease the wait.
Now, this is the place where you need to stop reading if you haven’t read the other books. I’m serious. I wrote the first few chapters of book four a week or so after publishing book three, so it picks up right where it left off. This is spoiler filled. Very spoiler-filled. If you have read the books and you’d prefer to wait until book four comes out, you won’t want to click either.
Last chance. Don’t keep reading if you don’t want to know what is going to happen. (more…)
I’m so excited about this new series that will launch in February. Book 1 is finished and out with my review team. Book 2 is coming together nicely, and I’m starting to think ahead to Book 3. It’s a fun new world that I’ll be writing in for a while. The super fun part is that it’s the same world where my book for the upcoming box set, Shades of Fae, is set. Stay tuned for updates on that and my other upcoming books!
Look for it on Amazon mid February!
Remember how I’ve said I tend to procrastinate a bit while editing? Well, thanks to that, here comes a new blog post!
I’m wrapping up round 2 of editing and will start on round 3 today – that’s the first round where I make changes to the draft on my computer. It’s a big step, and once I hit that phase, it isn’t long before I’m ready to publish.
However, I’m also going to be writing 3-4 new chapters for this book. I have a tendency to do a hard stop at the end of the climax and end the book. Then, after editing and getting some feedback from editors/critique partners, I add in the final resolution of the story. It’s almost like I need time to process what the ending should be after going through the emotional ups and downs of writing a climax in a book.
This book was a bit of a roller coaster to write. I think second books in a series are harder than the first in a series. I definitely went through all the emotions while writing this book. The climax was a blast to write. Probably one of my favorite things I’ve written so far. Which could be another factor as to why I stopped right when it ended and said “done.” Even though I knew I’d come back to it and write a few chapters after the fact.
The new chapters are a reward for me, though, something to look forward to doing after I finish round 3 of edits.
Now, if you’ve followed me on social media or read my other posts, you know how I feel about editing. I’m working on changing my mindset around this part of the process, so it feels less like work. I wonder if part of my stress around editing is the fact that it is similar to what I do for my day job as a teacher. How often am I giving notes on papers that students write? For me, writing is my creative outlet. Editing starts to feel similar to what I do for “work” whereas, writing doesn’t. It’s the fun part.
With that in mind, I’m working to shift my thinking around editing so I can start to view it as an integral part of the process and consider the benefit I get from editing.
When I edit, I get a larger view of the overall story. That’s a huge benefit since I don’t allow myself to edit as I write. I also get to see the places I can improve my work as a writer, and I get to see the progress I’ve made from one work to the next. Honestly, editing is a wonderful thing because it’s where the story starts to come together on its own. It’s how I take an idea and turn it into a living thing, giving it an identity. Without editing, it’s not fully formed. In the end, as much as I fight it, editing is pretty magical.
They say that when you do things you enjoy, you complete them faster. When I write, I typically get through 2,000 words in an hour. I love writing. It gives me energy and recharges me. When I edit, I move much slower. It seems to take forever. I’m working on getting to the point where I can appreciate and start to enjoy editing so I’m not spending a month on every project when I reach that stage. We’ll see how it goes on the next book since I’m going to work on my mindset from the very beginning of the process.
Okay, procrastination done. On to round 3 edits – the ones that start making the changes!
Sayge Blessed is currently in the editing stage and will be released on November 13th. If you’re ready to catch an un-edited sneak-peek of chapter one, keep reading. This chapter contains spoilers. If you have not yet read Fae Cursed, you won’t want to read this. It’s not quite the final version of this chapter, but it gives you a peek at where my first chapter starts out. Click “more” below to read the first draft of chapter one. Enjoy!