Books

Hunted Preview

 

Hunted-KindleIt’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!

 

AMAZON: https://tinyurl.com/amazonfae

ITUNES: https://tinyurl.com/ishadesoffae

BN: https://tinyurl.com/BNshadesoffae

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.

 

Coming Soon: Sorceress of Illaria

sorceressofillaria.jpgIt’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…)

New Series: Dragon Mage

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!

 

Behind the Scenes, Fae Cursed

Fae-Cursed-GenericFae Cursed, Book One of the Legacy of Magic Series is available now on Amazon. It’s a fun mash up between Urban Fantasy and Fairy Tale retelling. This book came about in a very different way than my past books. I’m usually an outliner. I have to at least have 8-10 plot points that I want to hit as I make my way through a book. Fae Cursed was totally different.

For this book, my friend L.A. Johnson, and I deceded we’d do a “secret project”. Our rules were simple: write something for fun, something we weren’t going to worry about fitting into the popular genres, something crazy. We didn’t tell anyone what we were working on. Nobody saw the first few chapters of our work, not even each other. After a week or two of writing, we started to share some of our craziness, but not as much as we usually would. No critique group, no spouses, no friends, just a writer and a computer.

It was freeing, really. I had this crazy idea for a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a circus. When I started to resarch the history of circuses, I found that they didn’t exist in medieval times, which was my typical go-to for world building. So I had to move it forward in time. I don’t know enough about Victorian times to build a world in there, so I pushed it even more modern. My setting was inspried by that transition time from the 90’s to the 2000’s. So my circus became a rave with circus performers.

For a while, I had no idea where I was going with this crazy story. In fact, a lot of the early versions of what I wrote got cut and re-arranged, but in the end, it turned out to be a fun way for me to explore my voice.

If it hadn’t been for this project, I would not have discovered how much fun it is to write in a contemporay setting. With magic, of course. Becuase let’s face it, I don’t think I could write a book without magic. It’s just too much fun.

What’s next? Sayge Blessed, Book Two of the series, will be out in November. It’s likely that book will wrap up the current story but I’m a sucker for cliff-hangers. As a reader I love them. As a writer, they are so much fun to write. I’m going to do my best to tie it up in a neat little bow for you, but no promises.

Celebrating the Battle of Illaria Release!

Tomorrow is the day! Battle of Illaria will be out in the world!

It’s a pretty great feeling when you launch a new work into the world. Especially when you finish it early and get to bump your release date up by nearly two weeks! Of course, there’s the fear that you missed something, the questioning of yourself as an artist, and all the doubt that goes into letting strangers read and evaluate your work, but let’s face it, it’s mostly a celebration. This book is even more of a celebration than my others in some ways, because it is my favorite (so far). This was the second book I ever wrote…remember how I took that random detour and decided I needed a book in the middle? Yeah, I don’t recommend that, but I wouldn’t change it because I was able to set up a lot of things in book 2 that I wanted to cover in book 3.

Here’s a few random facts about Battle of Illaria:

  1. The first draft was 112,000 words – yikes!
  2. I cut around 30,000 words
  3. It was originally the second book of the Illaria Series and got moved back for Oracle
  4. I wrote the first draft in about six weeks
  5. The first draft was finished during National Novel Writing Month in 2016
  6. It went through six round of editing by me, 2 rounds of editing by my editor, and 2 proof-readers
  7. The cover has been ready since October 2016. (The cover for book 4 is already done)
  8. One of the characters died in the original first draft and when I made cuts during editing, I changed the structure and that character ended up getting to live
  9. This is the first book I’m releasing that doesn’t have the next one already written
  10. All of the Max chapters were written after the second draft – and they were my favorite scenes to write.

And, because you still have one more day to wait and you might not want to wait that long, I’ve included the first chapter of Battle of Illaria below. Please note – the first chapter for this book contains spoilers. If you have not yet read the first two books, you may want to skip this part. (more…)

Creating a New Story: Part 1

Cinderella Cover3I have a million story ideas in my head and I want to write them all. The problem is, there are only so many hours in a day and I have to do things like sleep occasionally. Instead of waiting to start a brand new story until I finish editing my other finished works, I decided I’d reward myself with time to write new words on the side. I created a brand new story on Wattpad that I will be adding to exclusively there. Unlike Rose Circus, this story hasn’t been written yet. You will be seeing a true first draft in all it’s imperfect glory. Curious what my process is like? This is your chance to follow along as I create something new. I’ll post a new scene or chapter 2-3 times per week and will work on creating a regular posting schedule as the story evolves. This is a fun story that I wanted to play around with and I’m excited to get it out there. It gives me a break from my other work (including editing).

I have found that there are people who are interested in the process an author takes when creating a work. While every author is different, I thought it would be fun to share with you how I do things. I will post updates on that as I work on this story.

Process Update 1: All of my works usually start with a simple idea or a what-if. I LOVE fairy tales and I love when they are adapted in new, fun ways. I have also read my share of Vampire books and come from the school of thought that Vampires are supposed to be scary. But this story was actually triggered by the picture of the girl in the mask. When I saw that picture, I thought it would make a great cover for a Cinderella story. So I added it to my stock photo list and figured I’d go back to it when I had a better idea for it. A few days later, the image was still nagging at me and I went back to look at it. I started to think about how Cinderella could be modernized. Why would she put up with the mental and emotional abuse of an evil stepmother? Then, the wheels started turning and the idea came together. So I made a quick cover and wrote a description for Wattpad.

Story Description: After a tragic accident costs Ella’s father his life, she spends the next ten years living under the rules of her terrible stepmother. Forced to do the housework and living in the damp basement of her family’s home, Ella can’t wait for the day she turns 18 so she can leave it all behind. Everything changes when she discovers her father’s secret study and her family’s past. That’s when she realizes, her father’s death wasn’t an accident, he was killed by the very thing he hunted: Vampires. Now, Ella wants revenge against her father’s killer. Drawn into a world of magic, wealth, and superstition, Ella learns that the world wasn’t what she thought it was. The deeper she gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Can Ella learn how to fight against the creatures her father gave his life to hunt? Or will she become the hunted?

Usually, I outline stories before I write them. This time, I am starting with just the description. I’ll keep you posted as to where I go next!

Click here to find me on Wattpad and follow along!

Rose Circus – Legacy of the Fae, Book 1

Rose CircusI’m trying something a little different with the first book of my newest series. I’m publishing it on Wattpad a chapter at a time before I start editing it. This freaks me out a little bit, but I figure it’s good to try things that scare you.

The first draft is finished, but there are a couple of little story changes I’ll be making as I post. I’m excited to share this new book in this format before I publish it later this summer or early fall.

You can follow the link here to read it on Wattpad.

Make sure you follow me on Wattpad so you get updates about new chapters!

Oracle of Illaria – Sneak Peek

Oracle-of-Illaria-GenericI wanted to share a scene from Oracle with you all as we prepare for its release next week. I’m so excited about this book! It was tough to choose a favorite scene that wasn’t too much of a spoiler. The scene I’m sharing with you is one of my favorite in the whole book. When I wrote the last line, I got chills. That’s one of the amazing things about writing. When it is going well, there’s nothing like it. I hope you enjoy the scene and I can’t wait for the book’s release! Less than 1 week!

 

Sneak Peek from Oracle of Illaria

The silence was deafening and goosebumps rose on my arms. Thousands of people had gathered. All of them were quiet. I’d never seen a crowd this large before and couldn’t figure out how they all unified enough to wait for me to speak.
Say something, Etta. Swallowing back my fear, I stepped toward to the front of the platform. I lifted my chin and pushed my shoulders back. I needed to feel in control somehow.

“The king is hunting me. You’ve seen my face on the posters.” I waited a moment, expecting the crowd to react. Instead, they stayed silent. “The king is afraid of me. And he should be.” When nobody spoke, I continued. “Because I am the true heir to the throne. Rightful Queen of Illaria. And I will reclaim my throne. We will have peace again in Illaria. You have my word.”

I stared out at the crowd, feeling defiant, powerful, strong. “He can come for me, but I will fight.”

The crowd erupted in applause and cheers. I took a deep breath, trying to make the knots in my stomach subside. It was not easy to speak in front of people but I knew it was part of the job. And I’d accepted the position the night I sent Max away.

Movement in the back of the crowd drew my eye and I strained to see over the heads of the gathered people. A large group of King’s Guards were pushing their way through.

“Etta!” Celeste was behind me, a sword in her hand. I took it from her and stood my ground, waiting for the guards to come to us.

They never drew nearer, though. The crowd was pressing in on them, pushing them away from the platform. A murmur rose and grew to a chant. “Down with the king, down with the king.”

I lowered my sword and watched in awe as the people of Campari fought back against the guards. They outnumbered them and the guards were fleeing the square. Another cheer rose through the crowd and I joined in, fist in the air, crying out in unison with the crowd.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The people were turning. Down with the king.

Tales of Illaria: Max and Saffron

It’s here! The first prequel novella in the Illaria series is finished and available for download. It will be free from February 14th – 21st. It’s my Valentine to all of you!  Want to learn more about how Max and Saffron met? This is the beginning of their story. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

Follow this link to get your free copy today!