It’s time! The blog tour is upon us, and the first stop is today.
Links are provided below if you want to check out any of the bloggers, along with the dates that I’ll be appearing on their sites. Some stops have guest blogs written by me, others have interviews with special behind the scenes info and personal tidbits. These have been listed in bold print.
And of course, there will be a giveaway running throughout the duration of the tour. Stay tuned to learn how you can enter to win one of five signed hardbacks, each with their own swag pack.
Be sure to check out each stop! Some of those interview questions were pretty intense.
I’ll be back on all my social media platforms throughout the week with a deleted scene and giveaway details.
If you’ve already pre-ordered (ebook, paperback, or hardback), don’t forget to send me a picture of your order to be entered for a chance to win a swag pack to go along with that new book. (This international giveaway is open until release day, aka November 3rd.)
If you haven’t pre-ordered and need some gritty paranormal fantasy in your life (chock full of shifters, magic, and deep psychological scars), you can order your copy here:
Holy shit. There’s just over two weeks until the release of A Heart of Salt & Silver!
November 3rd is so close, and I’m freaking excited. So much so that I can’t resist sharing some more with you.
Down below, you’ll find an excerpt from this dark and brooding Paranormal High Fantasy Romance, as well as the playlist I listened to while writing.
Shall we start with the excerpt?
I pulled this one from chapter 12, taking you deep into the action. Ness and Elias are in some trouble, but since she’s immortal and Elias isn’t, she’s facing down a pack of Howlers (animals in a state of suspended/delayed death under the magical control of our big bad evil guy) all by herself.
Behind me, the alpha struggles to gain its feet, slipping in its own gore over by the tree. I turn to show it mercy, but the remainder, a small black wolf, grabs my right thigh in its jaws. It shakes its head back and forth, pulling my leg out from under me.
The ground rushes up to meet me, and I feel my nose break with the impact. Pain explodes through my skull. Blood gushes out, pouring down over my lips when I roll onto my back. The Howler drags me toward its alpha, arching its back and jerking as it does.
Thrashing, I swipe a hand at its face, desperate to end the pain for the both of us. My slash falls short, merely catching the flesh of her muzzle with my nails. It tears away in a bloody hunk. The poor thing screams, and the sound is just a bit too human.
It pierces my soul, sending shivers through my body.
But she lets go of my leg.
Scrambling upward, pain exploding through me with every move, I pull the wolf’s head to my chest. Holding her still against me, I take her head in both hands and snap her neck. She goes limp in my arms, and I set her gently on the ground.
Her eyes shine with nothing more than firelight, finally lifeless in death. As they should be. The bone around them glows against her black fur, matted down with dried blood.
Finally gaining its feet, the massive alpha charges, barreling into me as I wipe tears from my face. Its teeth find my left arm, sinking in deep. Lightning bursts of agony explode across every fiber of my being.
Pulling my hands apart, I pry the Howler’s jaws from my arms without ever touching the beast. A single twirling finger secures its jaw with a Nether binding, a thing I probably should have done from the start.
Another thing I’ll regret later…
Pulling the great grey beast against me, I hold it tight, despite its thrashing, finally finding a use for my unnatural strength. Staring into its eyes, I see pain.
With one hand on the side of its face, I fill my own eyes with compassion, letting my emotions seep into the beast. Another seldom used ability. I’m much more likely to keep my feelings to myself.
But here, now, it soothes this poor creature. The beast lays down across my lap, staring up at me.
Snarls become whimpers, and howls morph into soft whines. I feel death in the poor thing. His body is cold, and thick blood drains from its gaping stomach. Eyes like caramel stare into my soul, aching for release.
Twirling one finger counterclockwise, I release Elias from his Nether binding in the tree and free the wolf’s jaws. He won’t bite me, now.
With tears streaming down my face, I place my right hand atop the wolf’s head. My savaged left arm lies limp across the beast’s side. Stroking gently and hiding a grimace of pain, I try to show this poor animal a bit of comfort.
Then, I place one nail over the top of his head. He whines softly, and I make gentle sounds of reassurance.
“Shhh… It’s okay, now,” I whisper, petting the poor animal slowly and driving my talon through his skull.
Black blood oozes out around it, but for a split second, before the life fades from his eyes, he finds peace. His muscles go limp, finally relaxing as they should have when he first died.
Heaving a great sob, I haul the massive wolf’s head to my chest. My cries drown out the sounds of Elias climbing down from the tree. I hug the cold, dead wolf to me, weeping into matted fur.
My body shakes with sobs, and my chest aches. My world goes black, wiping the stars and the moon from the sky. My breath catches in my throat as my fingers tighten around dirty fur.
Can I just say that I cried writing this scene?
God, the poor animals. They went through so much. And they tore Ness up pretty badly before she could put them out of their misery.
Needless to say, there are some truly sad songs in the playlist. There are also some happy ones, some songs full of romantic tension, and a few that just sound fucking bad ass.
So, if you’re looking to broaden your musical horizons, the playlist below (assembled on YouTube Music) has 94 songs from all different genres. If you don’t have YouTube Music, I’ve also included screenshots of the playlist.
Who knows, you could listen to it while reading.
If you haven’t entered my preorder giveaway, it’s open until release day. Preorders are still available.
There’s nothing better than discovering a new author but often we discover those new authors by recommendation. Below, in no particular order, are some authors I have recently discovered and thought you might enjoy!
Beth Linton lives in North Wales and loves books, coffee, growing things and her young ‘un. Ana is her debut paranormal romance and is the first of a series (books 2 and 3 are due out soon). If you want a romance that has passion, shapeshifters and an almost magical connection with Mother Nature then this story will hook you.
Some women are born identical – one in the human world, one in the jungle of the Other Realm. It is their fate to change places. In The Guardians’ Trust series Doubles embrace their fate with the men born for them…
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU LEARNT THERE WERE TWO OF YOU?
Dr Ana Jones learns it is her destiny to leave the human world and cross into an Amazonian realm to join the Resistance who are fighting for survival – a fate that is akin to stepping back in time… no iPads, running water or underwear! A Double, one of a pair of identical women born by Mother Nature to swap places, she must cross into an Amazonian world to join the Resistance who are fighting for survival within the Other Realm and marry a stranger to help them win the war.
HE WAS BORN FOR HER
A warrior, leading the Resistance is Brenin’s life but Ana is his fate. Brenin embraces his marriage, and the shapeshifting gift his mating brings, but will her love be enough to help both man and panther survive the war?
Carrie Pulkinen is an author of spicy, haunting romances. Like me, she is fuelled by coffee. She loves her dog and the worlds she creates in her series. We share a similar fascination with shapeshifters which is what first attracted me to her books – If you like sexy shifters and fated mates, you’ll love this thrilling paranormal romance.
Macey doesn’t know she’s hunting demons.
Luke is making sure she never discovers the truth.
Detective Macey Carpenter has been on the trail of a vicious attacker for weeks. The evidence keeps disappearing, and it seems she’ll never solve the case. Finding love is the least of her worries, but she can’t deny her attraction to a mysterious man who knows more about the crimes than he should.
A man who may be more than he seems…
When Luke falls head over tail for the feisty human detective, supernatural secrets aren’t the only things at stake.
He has to mate with another werewolf or he’ll sacrifice his position as alpha. But as heat builds between the pair, he discovers Macey has a few secrets of her own.
She may hold the key to ridding New Orleans of its demons…
But his feelings for her will tear his pack apart.
Mae Harden is an author of contemporary romances and, talented lady that she is, she also co-hosts a podcast. Harden started her love of romance by reading Harlequin just as I did and she shares my enjoyment of writing strong female characters. Her novel, Stripped Down is definitely going into my TBR pile. Hot!
Contractor. Loner. Stripper? Not usually, but I’ll do anything to get the Bachelorette party in the room next door to settle down. All I want is a good nights sleep so I can focus on work. I never expected my entire world to shift when she opens the hotel door with her wide green eyes and sweet vanilla scent.
She’s just in town for the party, there’s no way I can have her. I certainly shouldn’t have pinned her against the wall and kissed her on my way out. After all, it’s not like I’ll ever see her again, right?
Baking is my thing. Running a successful, expanding business is my thing. Bachelorette parties are not. Surprise strippers even less so. But I’m pretty sure this guy isn’t really a stripper and if he is, he’s pretty bad at it.
On the other hand, he’s very very good at kissing. I’ll never see him again but at least I’ll have something to fantasize about when I’m baking muffins tomorrow morning.
A. R. Grosjean is an author of multiple genres including Fantasy, Romance, Suspense, and more. She describes herself as ‘a head in the clouds kind of author’. I have chosen this book as not only is it the first in this series but you can also get the e-book for free when you sign up for her newsletter. Her new novel Stolen is out in October and sounds like a great read. Read an excerpt here.
Sadira Stone writes contemporary romance set in the Pacific Northwest and this novel is book 3 of her Nirvana series. Stone is a star because she not only writes great romance stories but she also promotes fellow writers as well.
She’s a free spirit. He’s a one-woman man.
Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend much less a flirtation with her competitor.
Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist tribe almost fills that need, but something is missing…until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defences shatter him.
Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist’s career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.
Mckenna Dean’s Instagram profile hooked me from the start: she loves putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are – like tea bags, she says, only sexier. Romance, heat and humour all promised within one sentence! Her style is slow burn, crockpot paranormal.
Redclaw Origins: The year is 1955. Rebel without a Cause and The Seven Year Itch are playing in the movie theatres. The Chevy Bel Air is the most popular car in America. Gas is 25 cents a gallon and you can get a hotel room for $4 bucks. This flirty, fun series takes us back to the beginning and shows us how Redclaw Security got started.
Bishop Takes Knight (Redclaw Origins Book 1)
New York, 1955. Former socialite Henrietta (“Rhett”) Bishop, desperately seeking work, gets hired by Redclaw Security. But Redclaw is no ordinary operation. Part detective firm and part enforcement agency, Redclaw regulates matters involving the growing population of shifters who have emerged since the onset of the nuclear age.
Peter Knight is a nuclear scientist shattered by the death of his wife. Blacklisted by the government and scientific organizations, he drowns his sorrows while searching for the people behind his wife’s murder.
Together they form an unlikely partnership to search for a missing cache of mysterious technology stolen from Redclaw. But when a dangerous person from the past turns up to start a bidding war on the artifacts, Bishop and Knight wind up in a fight for their very lives.
Elexis Bell writes books that sweep you off your feet, and tie you to the chair. Her style is romance sprinkled across high fantasy, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic novels. Whatever you chose to read of hers, they are always dark. Fans of gritty fiction, compelling romance, and imaginative takes on magic and the afterlife will love this dark paranormal high fantasy romance. A Heart of Salt and Silver (out November 3rd) is available for pre-order.
Ness, a demi-demon with a conscience, just wanted a peaceful afternoon in the Forest of Immortals. But Elias, a reckless mortal, went and spoiled it. Not that he wanted to be chased by psychotic vampires.
After saving his life, Ness agrees to help him find his estranged father and his Pack. But that means facing Nolan, the werewolf ex that holds her heart.
Now, Ness must decide. Use Elias to forget Nolan at the cost of his soul or crawl back to her ex and hope he still wants her even though she broke his heart.
But when the vampires come calling, broken hearts might be the least of their worries.
Lynsay Sands is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her stories are packed with not only romance but wit and humour. For both steam and a good laugh, her books are gold. Sands says that this story is much sexier than many of her others. Enjoy!
Lady Dwyn Innes feels utterly out of place among the eligible women who’ve descended on Buchanan Keep, vying for the attention of the last unmarried brothers. She isn’t long-legged and slender like her sisters, or flirtatious and wily like other lasses. Since her betrothed died, Dwyn has resigned herself to becoming an old maid. Yet a chance encounter with a stranger in the orchard awakens her to a new world of sensation and possibility…
After weeks away, Geordie Buchanan returns to find his home swarming with potential brides, thanks to his loving but interfering family. But one lass in particular draws his attention from the moment he spies her climbing a tree. Lady Dwyn is not nearly as plain as she thinks. Her lush figure and eager kisses delight him, as does her honesty. But the real test lies ahead: eliminating a hidden enemy, so that he and Dwyn can seal their Highland passion with a vow.
Monica McCarthy is a lawer and a hugely succesful author. Many of her books are historical and based in Scotland and, believe it or not, it was writing a legal paper on the Scottish Clan System that led to her love of Scotland.
At eighteen, Annie MacGregor thought the worst thing that could happen to her was a broken heart. But she was wrong. Caught in the crossfire of warring clans, Annie’s ravaging at the hands of the hated Campbells has nearly destroyed her. But she is determined to put her life back together, and that life doesn’t include Niall Lamont, the man who broke her heart two years before and has now appointed himself her unwanted avenger and sentinel.
Niall made the biggest mistake of his life when he told Annie that he couldn’t marry her. By the time he realizes his mistake, however, it’s too late. His clan is nearly destroyed by the Campbells for harbouring her kinsmen, he is outlawed, and the woman he loves has been brutalized. With time running out, and the king’s men closing in, Niall will do whatever he must to earn Annie’s forgiveness—even if it means teaching the stubborn lass to defend herself. But Annie is a MacGregor, and if there is one thing the persecuted clan knows how to do, it is fight. Forgiveness, however, is another matter, and Niall begins to wonder if some wounds just might be too deep to heal.
Penny Jordan is the queen of romance. Writing for Mills & Boon, she writes around four books a year and is, arguably, the jewel of M&B’s crown. Jordan prefers to write about virginal heroines as a shorthand to convey her character’s attraction to the hero, so if this is your preferred trope then have look at her huge collection!
Could she exorcise her dreams of love?
Looking back, Christy realised that Simon hadn’t wanted to fall in love six years ago – while she’d had no other choice. Still, she shouldn’t have assumed he’d want to marry her.
She’d naively planned their future together until the day Simon accused her of trying to trap him into marriage. Apparently, unlike her, he hadn’t needed to be in love to experience desire.
Now he was determined to have her accompany him to the Caribbean to research his new book. Did he really expect her to put the past behind her?
So, it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of insta-love in books, whether I’m writing or reading.
I much prefer the sweet, drawn out tension of a slow burn. That will they/won’t they, that back and forth, is just way more appealing to me.
But I’m not sure I’ve ever explained why except to a few individuals.
Now, bear in mind, this is just my opinion. You’re free to write or read whatever you want. In fact, I actively encourage it. The literary world needs to serve all readers and writers.
But that’s a rant I’ve done before.
On to the topic at hand.
To me, insta-love just isn’t immersive or realistic.
I know that sounds rich coming from a sci-fi/fantasy writer. Magic and dragons and werewolves aren’t real.
But that’s the element of the fantastical that I prefer.
I want the characters, their personalities, and their interactions to be believable and immersive.
Instantly falling in love just isn’t believable for me.
Instant attraction, yeah. That makes way more sense. That happens to people all over the globe, day in and day out.
But if two characters just fall in love within a day or a week, I start trying to figure out if they have some sort of attachment problems, psychologically speaking.
And that isn’t usually what insta-love writers want their readers focusing on.
Plus, I always find myself picking out red flags, little things the characters should notice about each other (but don’t), and find it all a little worrisome.
Because there are usually a few.
Or a lot.
So I just tend to stay away from insta-love books, in general.
There are exceptions, of course.
If it’s written into the fabric of the world and based in a magical element…that makes more sense to me. Or in books where the aim is to show the dangers of losing yourself in a relationship, insta-love makes sense then, too.
But it just doesn’t work for me, outside of those few exceptions.
I’ll take the slow progress, the building chemistry, the back and forth and will they/won’t they of a slow burn over insta-love any day.
Again, this is all personal opinion. I strongly advise you to read or write whatever you want.
Where do you stand on the matter?
Come back next week to find out why I write romance into even my darkest books.
Now, as far as my progress on my books is concerned.
I finished the first round of edits on Second to None last week, battled countless technological demons, wrote about 6,000 words in The Regonia Chronicles, decided to move the divider between book one and two within the series, and got A Heart of Salt & Silver up for preorder in paperback and ebook. The hardback will be available soon.
Check it out here: mybook.to/AHeartOfSaltAndSilver
I need to jump into another round of edits on either Allmother Rising or Where Darkness Leads, soon.
I’d say that I’ll have eventually have fewer projects going at once, but that would be a lie. And I’m okay with that.
Here are a couple of excerpts to give you a sneak peak at the book!
“Unhand us, witch!” the vampire shouts.
The mortals, apparently far smarter than this vampire, remain silent. Even the vampire’s own pledge seals his lips shut. A wave of Nether wafts off him, marking him as a Nether witch.
But fury sparks within me, and a dark grin overtakes me. I lower my arm, setting the blades down gently in the middle of the clearing.
“What was that?” I ask, daring the vampire to repeat himself.
Stupidly enough, he does. “I said, ‘unhand us, witch!’ Let us go quickly, and I might not kill you.”
I laugh quietly, and all the birds fly away, deserting their treetop perches. A dangerous glint shines in my eyes as I saunter within arm’s reach.
“Witch? You think me a witch?”
“How else could a pitiful, puny little woman like you do all this?” He jerks his head at the other two men, unable to move his arms. Cheeks flushed with anger, he draws back and spits in my face, dark eyes flashing, all the while.
Nearby animals sense my anger reverberating on the Nether, and the woods fall completely silent. Fury roils within me, and visions of blood fill my mind. Everything in me demands his evisceration.
Or perhaps the removal of some limbs…
With eyes narrowed, I lift one hand. He flinches, and I smile, baring my teeth. His spit floats into the air, leaping happily from my skin. My spine shivers with disgust and hatred as I force the spit to smear itself over the vampire’s face, over his eyes.
Slowly twirling one finger, I tighten his bonds. Air rushes from his lungs, and his soft face goes red as he struggles to breathe.
“You underestimate me. I don’t know a single witch who can do everything I’ve done without at least three days of spell and potion preparation. Not to mention the difficulty of lugging all those ingredients out here.”
Lifting one average looking fingernail to his face, I trace one of his cheekbones, then the other, splitting the skin wide. A line drawn down the center of his nose, from bridge to tip, releases still more blood.
My eyes flutter as the darkest parts of me savor the sight.
“As for spitting on me,” I whisper, knowing my voice will carry to the others, echoing in their bones despite its low volume, “that was a grave mistake. Most of my kind would have killed you on the spot, simply for the disturbance.”
Voice suddenly a hiss, I say, “You’re lucky I’ve learned patience.”
My soul riots for revenge, and my blood boils in my veins. I fight the damnable words, hating my own weakness before my rage, but still, I say, “But ignorance must not go to seed. Your family line will end with you. You will never again create, or prolong, life.”
And I shift the Nether to make it so.
“Your kind? What are you talking about? What makes you think you can curse me?” All bluff and bluster, the vampire tries to appear brave and defiant.
But I feel the fear leaking off him. I smell it in his blood, acrid and spoiled. I hear it in his sputtering heartbeat, slightly more erratic than those of the others.
Again, I say nothing. Drawing a deep breath, I close my eyes slowly.
Thunder roars through the clearing, rumbling in all our chests. I open my eyes, glittering gold sending light reflecting back at the vampire, and my skin grows paler. Fingernails become golden talons, embedded in black skin which reveals hues of purple as it fades to white just above my wrist. My eyelids are colored similarly, pulsing with the Nether that reaches out through my skin.
Black horns burst from my skull, sticking through locks of deepest red. My horns twist as they taper off, curling back over the top of my head.
The color drains from the vampire’s face, concealed as it is by his blood. Sick glee spikes through me.
“Did you know you would feel my revelation in your blood? Did you know the very air would tremble with it?” I ask, knowing the answer to be a resounding “no.”
“You’re a…” he trails off, unable to speak for lack of air.
“Demi-demon is, I believe, the word you’re looking for,” I say, smiling malevolently. “Now, I’m going to untether you, and you’re going to run. Before I change my mind.”
Can I just say that Ness is pretty OP? Lol. She has her flaws, don’t get me wrong. She isn’t perfect. But she’s powerful as hell.
And because I just can’t help myself, here’s another excerpt:
With my good arm, I pull my leg up to bend the knee. Hiking the hem of my dress up, I reveal torn muscle and shredded skin. I wince as the fabric moves over it, tugging flaps of skin in directions they aren’t meant to go.
Elias’ hands set to work, scooping water up, and pouring it over my thigh. Each drop, gentle as the administration of them may be, pulls a moan of pain from my lips. Wrapping fingers tightly around a stone, I do what I can to bear the pain without making Elias feel worse.
The blood washes away, revealing the true devastation wrought by the dead wolf’s jaws. My leg hangs open, dark muscle showing itself to the sky as it was never meant to do.
“Itand have mercy,” he whispers, calling on the goddess of fortitude.
But she’ll spare no blessings for the likes of me.
“What do I need to do?” he asks. His eyes roam over me, and one hand finds its way to my cheek. Brows knitted together, he clearly longs for something to do, some reassurance that I’ll be ok.
Does he want me to be alright for the sake of spending more time together? Or merely for the sake of having an escort for the rest of the trek?
I hope for his sake that it’s the latter. But the well of loneliness within me wishes for the former.
Either way, there’s nothing he can do.
“My body will mend itself,” I tell him. “It’ll hurt, but it’ll mend. It’s already started.”
His eyes drop to my arm, my leg. The bleeding has stopped, and the cuts aren’t as deep as they were mere seconds ago. Had he seen it when the wounds were first inflicted, he likely would’ve been sick.
“I wish you would’ve let me help,” he murmurs, sliding his hand along my jaw until his thumb finds my earlobe.
Exhaustion pulls my inhibitions low. Despite myself, despite the guilt churning within me, I lean into his caress.
Nolan won’t want me back, anyway.
My heart shrinks from the thought, and I close my eyes, nuzzling my cheek into Elias’ palm.
“Letting you help would’ve been a terrible idea. They could never kill me. They had no salt, no silver. They couldn’t say any incantations.”
I pause, squeezing my eyes tight against the horrid images which flash before them. I don’t want to see the ways they could’ve hurt him. I don’t want to watch them tear him to shreds. I don’t want to see his blood on the ground.
“They could’ve killed you, though,” I whisper.
Suddenly desperate to see him alive and healthy, to ease my conscience just a bit, I open my eyes. Sure enough, he’s there, face inches from mine. The moonlight glows in his magnificent eyes, but the blood of the Howlers still adorns his face.
Reaching for his sodden shirt, I lift a corner of it to his face. Wiping away the dried blood, I memorize the strength in his jaw, the kindness in his eyes. I trace the small kink in his nose, a remnant from a previous fight.
From a distance, it’s almost impossible to notice, but this close…
My eyes drop to his lips, full and soft. They part, but only to speak.
Confusion wrinkles his brow. “If they couldn’t kill you, why were they sent after us? To maim you and kill me?”
“No,” I say, shaking my head. I stifle a groan as my thigh stitches itself together. “They sent them to find us. They know where we are, now. They know which way we were headed. They’ll find us.”
Those words sew our lips shut, for we both know. This won’t be the last of the vampire and his pledge. And if this was just the search party, what awaits us down the path?
The things awaiting them down the path are pretty intense. Just so you know.
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