Category Archives: Prince by Blood and Bone

2.5 Novella for Tales of the Black Court is Finished!

Moonday Mania

a blog for a snowy day

It may not be snowing where you are, but it definitely is white outside my window. I write a lot in the winter. In fact, many of my books end up being set in snowy woods. It will be interesting when the girls no longer are home for summers and I write more in June, July, and August. My romances will be filled with sultry days and sunny skies. Meanwhile I have lots of snow, clouds, and ice.

That’s true with the book I’ve just finished and am inches away from releasing to my hungry Tales of the Black Court fans. This is not a fantasy romance, but it is the backstory behind Prince by Blood and Bone, and I’m doing something fun with it. Once I have a title and a cover I’ll be sending my newsletter subscribers a free version (thanks for subscribing!) and I’ll also be posting it on Wattpad

What is Wattpad?

 

Wattpad is a social media site for writers and readers where anyone can post their writing and anyone can read it. For free! Books are generally serialized, and you follow people so that you get their latest updates. I’ve been thinking about posting something there and this story is perfect. For one thing it is definitely PG 13. This story is the behind the scene’s tale of what happens to Bryanna’s mother and sister, while she’s off falling in love with a beast.

It doesn’t have any romance, and it’s super short.

And…It’s also the back story to Broken Mirror!

If you are waiting for the next book in the series, Broken Mirror, I’m working hard on edits. I still need a cover, as well. So I’m estimating this spring for the book to be released. But, you can get your fix via this 2.5 novella. Cassie, Bryanna’s sister and Trina’s cousin, is the heroine of both the 2.5 book and Broken Mirror. This is her story. How she gets into the next book. Which you have a glimpse of, if you read Prince by Blood and Bone, but this gives the nitty-gritty details.

So, when is it available?

Soon! I promise you, soon. The cover is the last thing that’s keeping me from releasing this book. Sometimes when you are publishing a book the details don’t all come together at the same time. The good news, is the text is ready. The bad news is that I have to have a title and a cover.

What am I doing about it?

I have emails out to my cover artist, and I have a backup plan. It will have a cover. And I am determined to think of a title this week! I have some ideas mulling around in my head. Unfortunetly my brain has also been full of plotting the next Tales of the Black Court book and I’ve had to edit Broken Mirror and jot down notes for the next book all at the same time. Ever wonder what it’s like being in a writer’s head? Try TV watching with a channel surfer who controls the remote. You want to watch Downton Abbey and they keep switching to Sherlock. Brain rebound!

Thanks for your patience.

Seriously, this book has taken longer than I wanted it to, but I’m finally getting my health and schedule back on track and coordinated with working at a real job. I feel like that should be easy, but for me, it’s not. So I appreciate the patience.

What’s next?

Next week I will have a title and a blurb for you for this book, and (fingers crossed) some cover news. Meanwhile, stay warm!

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE. 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under Broken Mirror, Fantasy Romance, Moonday mania, Prince by Blood and Bone

WOOT! I’ve Been Nominated for a PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award!

Whimsical Wednesday

I’m super excited! I was nominated for a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award in the Sci-fi/Fantasy category and now I need your help!

All the participating books are nominated by reviewers, but after that, it’s up to popular vote as to who wins, so I’m asking all my readers to take a minute and go to the PRG Website and vote!

And it’s for both the dark huntsman by jessica aspenTHE DARK HUNTSMAN and PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE!prince by blood and bone by jessica aspen

WOOT!

Unfortunately I think you can only vote for one of them, but pick your favorite. I’m having a tough time deciding which one to get behind myself, but choices must be made. 🙂 Which book did you like the best?

And, TALES OF THE BLACK COURT was nominated in Sci-fi Fantasy series, so that helped. Only one to vote for there!

Voting is open for one week starting today and closing on 1/28/15

PRG 2104 Reviewer's Choice Awards

And, bonus this year! My crit partner, ML Guida has been nominated as well in three other categories, Paranormal Romance Shifters, Paranormal Romance Vampires AND Paranormal Romance Series. Whew! You can vote in each category, so for her’s you don’t need to choose. Lucky Mary!

Thanks to all of my readers for all of the fantastic support this year. You all rock! I’m looking forward to making 2015 a fabulous year and you are a huge part of that motivation.

Thank you!

Jessica

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE. 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under Fantasy Romance, Prince by Blood and Bone, The Dark Huntsman, Whimsical Wednesdays

Virtual Bookstore in Second Life

Thursday’s Bite

a blog exploring new romance venues

the book nook in second lifeLast winter I placed The Dark Huntsman, a Fantasy Romance of the Black Court on the shelves of The Book Nook, a virtual book store in Second Life run by fellow fantasy romance author Sharon Clare. If you are unfamiliar with Second Life, it’s a place online where you create an avatar of yourself and you can visit locations all over the world, different countries, cities, museums. In this case The Book Nook is a romance only store located in virtual London, Victoria. Isn’t that cool? My book is available in a virtual bookstore in London!

The Dark Huntsman pic_002 (2)

You can take your avatar and walk down the street in London, and walk right into the bookstore. It looks just like this, except these were taken December 2013, so I doubt Sharon has left the snowman and holiday rug out. When you click on the book you can read a blurb and there is a purchase link that takes you directly to Amazon, so you can buy the book. It’s just like buying a book in a real bookstore except you make the final purchase through your Amazon account and it shows up on your e-reader.The Dark Huntsman pic_001 (2)

 

 

This month I added Prince by Blood and Bone to the virtual scene and I’m pretty excited to see it up on the shelves.

You can discover the Book Nook in London: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/London%20City3/214/146/24

Like The Book Nook on Facebook

Add it to your circles on Google Plus

Follow on Twitter @BookNookVirtual

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Filed under Prince by Blood and Bone, self publishing, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

What is Fantasy Romance?

Thursday’s Bite

a fantasy romance blog

prince by blood and bone by jessica aspenBefore we dive into the blog, I have to share.  Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, received FIVE STARS from Night Owl Reviews. 

WOOT!

“As a huge fan of fairy tales, I had no doubt that I would simply adore this series. What makes them even better and much more intriguing is the darkness that is woven so skillfully throughout them. Prince by Blood and Bone is the second novel in the ever so thrilling Tales of the Black Court trilogy by author Jessica Aspen, and let me say, this novel is awesome!”  night owl reviews top pick

Now on to the topic for today: What is “fantasy romance”?  Isn’t there romance in all fantasy novels? And why is or isn’t it paranormal romance? How did it get it’s own label?

 

When I started writing The Dark Huntsman there was fantasy and there was romance. Paranormal romance had just become something that might be a genre, and very soon it exploded into a genre packed with werewolves and vampires, and a smattering of elves and fairy tales, but on the whole, there wasn’t much fantasy in the romance genre. Now, fantasy romance is it’s own genre, but it’s still a tiny slice of the romance pie. When you search for it, very little actually comes up, and you end up with fantasy stories that have some romance in them being mixed in with mid-evil romances and Gothic romances.

Despite all of that, fantasy romance is a genre. Look, it even has a definition on Wikipedia!

Romantic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction, describing a fantasy story using many of the elements and conventions of the romance genre.[1]

One of the key features of romantic fantasy involves the focus on relationships, social, political, and romantic.[2] Romantic fantasy has been published by both fantasy lines and romance lines.

Some publishers distinguish between “romantic fantasy” where the romance is most important and “fantasy romance” where the fantasy elements are most important.[1] Others say that “the borderline between fantasy romance and romantic fantasy has essentially ceased to exist, or if it’s still there, it’s moving back and forth constantly”.[3]  From Wikipedia, romantic fantasy

Even by the time I published The Dark Huntsman I ran into some hurdles with calling it a fantasy romance. Entering it in contests, fantasy romance wasn’t always listed. I had to enter it in competition with other types of paranormal romance and sci-fi romance. That works for me, because I feel like fantasy romance is a sub-genre of paranormal romance.

Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of both romantic fiction and speculative fiction. Paranormal romance focuses on romantic love and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the speculative fiction genres of fantasyscience fiction, and horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances, such as those published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. From Wikipedia, paranormal romance

That’s great, because I’ve defined myself as a paranormal romance writer. I twist fairy tales, but I also write about werewolves, shapeshifters, and witches. With a few elves thrown in for good measure. Keeping my writing in the realm of paranormal keeps me within a genre that I’m hoping will encourage my readers from one series to stretch to reading the next series. In other words, if you like paranormal romance, you should like the fantasy romances.

See how that works?

Keeping the romance the strong part of my author brand lets me stretch my fairy tale twists from Radon, Colorado all the way to Underhill. And that’s fun for me, and (hopefully!) fun for the reader. Have you read fantasy romances? What authors or series to you like? What did you like about them? Were they heavy on the romance, or were they heavy on the fantasy?

Want to find out when my latest fantasy romance is coming out? Subscribe to my new release only mailing list. Only new release information and special sales will be sent out so you don’t have to worry about me clogging up your inbox.

 

 

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Filed under Fantasy Romance, Prince by Blood and Bone, Tales of the Black Court, Thursdays Bite, Writer's Journey

Discover Kian and Bryanna from PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE

Thursdays Bite

a fantasy romance hero blog

Last two days to enter to win a print copy of PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court. Hop over and add it to your Goodreads shelf today!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prince by Blood and Bone by Jessica Aspen

Prince by Blood and Bone

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends May 16, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Also, the PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE blog tour is wrapping up. Many of the blogs are offering an e-copy of THE DARK HUNTSMAN , A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court and there are lots of places where your chances are really excellent for winning, so check out the list HEREdo some blog romance blog hopping and enter to win!

Today I’m sharing a character interview that I conducted for Aly’s Miscellany on the blog tour.  I almost never do character interviews, and this one is with both Bryanna and Kian, from PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE,  A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, so enjoy the rarity! Click HERE to read more about Bryanna and Kian and to gain a little insight into what’s behind their story.

prince by blood and bone book tour button

 

A rebellious prince, a reluctant witch, and a mysterious prophecy,

twisted together in a tale of Beauty and the Beast

 

Trapped in an underground palace Prince Kian must remain a beast, or give in to the queen’s plan to strip him of his powers. But Kian refuses to submit to his mother’s evil plan and is determined to escape both his prison and his curse—even if it means dabbling in witch’s magic.

On the run for most of her life, Bryanna MacElvy has never learned to use her healing Gift. When she’s pulled by Kian’s spell into his prison, the prince sees the golden witch as his salvation. Refusing to let her, or to accept she is incapable of curing him, Kian offers her a terrible bargain—heal him, or give up her freedom forever.

Their lives entwined by fate, the prince must learn to love a human and Bryanna must learn to trust herself—or risk losing their freedom, his powers, and their passion, to the evil of the Black Queen.

Buy today on:

Amazon

AllRomance Ebooks

Barnes and Noble

Ibooks

Kobo

Add to Goodreads Shelf

 

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Filed under Bloghops, Fae, Prince by Blood and Bone, Thursdays Bite, witches

Golden Quill Finalist For a Second Year in a Row!

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal romance celebration blog

the dark huntsman 2014 golden quill finalistWoot! The Dark Huntsman is a Finalist in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi category of the Desert Rose RWA Golden Quill 2014 contest. (Say it ten times fast!). If you still haven’t read my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, check out the Prince by Blood and Bone Blog tour for opportunities to win an e-copy. Several of the sites are hosting giveaways, and there are lots of chances to win.

I’m having a terrific 2014. My hot paranormal romance, Goldi and the Bear, is a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence and the second book in the Tales of the Black Court, Prince by Blood and Bone, is having an amazing blog tour with several five star (or fangs, or paws) reviews. It seems that readers like it even more than The Dark Huntsman, and that’s really good news for me since I was super stressed about it being just as good a book. I guess it was worth taking that extra time to make it right. 🙂

You can still enter to win one of five print copies of Prince by Blood and Bone on Goodreads, so add it to you Goodreads Shelf and enter to win!

I’m not doing an additional blog today, because I’m busy putting the final touches on my New Adult Gothic romance, Ghosts of Christmas Past, before I send it off to the first editor. If you would like to read an actual blog then hop on over to the Indy Book Fairy to read an interview with me HERE.

Happy May to all!

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Filed under Bloghops, fairy tales, Goldi and the Bear, Prince by Blood and Bone, The Dark Huntsman

Goodreads Giveaway Prince by Blood and Bone-excerpt #1

Moonday Mania

a blog for the writer in all of us

Catching up: Squee! I love releasing hot, new, paranormal romance books, and I doubly love that Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, is finally out!

At least in e-form. Print is coming soon, but you can enter here to win one of the first print books off of the presses.

This is my third Goodreads Giveaway, and I think they’ve been pretty successful. The first one for The Dark Huntsman was a huge success on Goodreads, and got my fantasy romance into new reader’s hands. Then I did a second one for International and US, and had one winner from each. It was fun to ship my book off to Brazil and know someone on the other side of the hemisphere was reading it. This one is US only, but add it to your Goodreads shelf now, and look for the International Giveaway in May. 🙂

The official blog:

Prince by Blood and Bone is my fifth published book and unlike my Twisted Tales,  it’s fantasy romance: a genre that crosses the border between the complex world building of the fantasy, and the fast-paced, let’s-get-to-it feel of romance. In romance, you want to have your hero and heroine get together as fast as possible, but in fantasy, you need to set the reader up for the tone of the story. Where is it going to take place? Is it a new world, or one we are familiar with. You can’t just throw the reader into a meeting, without giving them a scaffolding for your characters to sit on.

But you do want to have things move fast.

That’s why in Prince by Blood and Bone, you meet Bryanna first in the mundane world of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her world has already fallen apart and can’t get much worse. At least she thinks so.

Of course it can, and it does. And as her world falls apart, the fantasy world begins to grow.

Here is a taste from chapter one:

Bryanna curled her head onto her knees and let her long blond hair fall over her face, effectively blocking out the burn of the Albuquerque sun, but completely failing to warm the cold, lump of loss in her belly.

Failing too, to shut out the arguing in the kitchen behind her.

“Mama, I’ve tried and tried to have a vision about Trina. You know I have. But it isn’t coming through, and I don’t know why!” Cassie’s frustration sounded loud and clear through the open screen door. “We need to move on, we’ve been here too long and we’re putting ourselves at risk.”

“No.” Their mother repeated. As if saying it over and over again would force Cassie to listen. “Trina knows we’re here. If we move locations, she may never find us. We need to give her more time. It’s not like you’ve received any visions of danger.”

There was a moment of silence. And then her mother’s voice quavered. “Have you?”

“Mama, it’s been months,” Cassie said. Even though Bryanna didn’t want to hear what came next, she found herself holding her breath and listening, digging her fingers into the crumbling concrete of the stoop beneath her. “Trina stayed back to confront the faery queen’s spy. She would have found us by now—” Another long moment of silence that lasted far too long before Cassie finished the dreadful thought. “—if she’d survived.”

Bryanna lifted her head. The hot wind gusted, drying out her lips and blowing a stray tumble weed down the middle of the empty alley behind the house. It wasn’t only the tension strung tight under their words that kept her outside, it was the subject itself. The loss of her cousin Trina had driven a wedge into their already stressed-out family. Now, not only had they stayed too long in one place, they risked losing what held them together.

Small, hot, infested with creepy New Mexican bugs, and located in a rotten neighborhood, the squat adobe house had to be one of the worst places her family had ever used during the last fifteen years of running. Bryanna poked a stick into the wide crack splitting the bottom stair of the back stoop and tried to focus on the sun, the heat, even the dusty smell of burning pavement. Anything but the rising argument going on inside the house.

Trina had never joined them at the safe house. Never contacted them. Never called.

“Mama, she’s dead.”

“No. I won’t believe that.”

Tears clogged the back of Bryanna’s throat, and she felt like she choked on wet cotton.

She was supposed to be over this. She had to get over this. She was twenty years old now, and loss had become just another part of her sucky life.

It had been years since she’d cried like this, but losing Trina made her once again vulnerable and small—the lost little girl whose father had died and whose world had blown apart. The same little girl who’d had to leave toys and friends behind as what was left of her family fled the wrath of the queen of the faeries.

She stretched out her long legs in their short-shorts in an effort to add more color to her naturally pale skin. There was nothing for her to do. No decision for her to make or argue for. She agreed with both of them. They should stay. They should run. Either way, no one would listen to her.

“You said Trina would be alright.” Her mother’s voice cracked. “You said she’d be fine.” Bryanna tightened her fingers into balls, her nails digging into her palms hard enough to draw blood.

“Things change. What I see will be accurate, but only for a short while. Mama, something’s happened to her.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Whether you believe it or not, we need to move on, or risk the queen finding us.” Right or wrong, Cassie always spoke as if the more firmly she said the words, the more right she was. “We’re the last of the MacElvys, and we’ve survived the queen’s purge only because we’ve been smart. Staying here is suicide.”

An ant crawled over Bryanna’s bare toe, cruising across her chipped, hot pink nail polish. The thought occurred to her that she should do something about the sorry state of her pedicure, but right now she didn’t care. Right now none of them cared about much besides the growing knowledge that Trina must be dead.

While her mother and older sister battled it out in the kitchen, Bryanna leaned back and tilted her face to the sky. They’d make a decision, and she’d follow along. And anyway, even if she had a dog in this argument, it would take more energy than she’d had since Trina had gone missing to fight for her opinions.

Cassie’s voice tightened. “Something’s wrong. I have that heebie-jeebie thing crawling up my back.”

“Nothing’s felt right without Trina.” Months of pent-up grief rushed out of Theresa’s mouth and her voice cracked. “She’s my baby, just as much as you girls are. I’ve raised her since she was little. I can’t give up on her. I won’t.”

“I know, but…oh!” Cassie’s voice cut off in mid-argument. Even the dry wind held still in the empty alley. This was it.

“Bryanna, hurry!” Theresa shouted.

Bryanna pushed off the warm, sunny stoop, and raced up the stairs. She wrenched open the creaky screen door in time to see her sister’s eyes roll back into her head and her tiny mother springing to catch Cassie’s long limbs as she collapsed.

Cassie’s body jerked and went rigid.

The voice of prophecy emerged, thin and reedy and foreign. “The ogre hoard is coming. Flee! Now!” Her head lolled back, the riot of golden red curls blocking Bryanna’s view of their mother’s face. Theresa’s body bent under Cassie’s weight, and she struggled to keep her from hitting the hard Mexican tile floor.

Bryanna hesitated, the metal of the open screen door burning her hand.

“Run Bryanna, grab your kit.” Theresa laid Cassie down on the floor. “This one hit her hard.”

Bryanna edged around her prone sister and sprinted down the tiny hallway to their room and her nearly empty bag of pre-spelled herbal remedies. When she got back to the kitchen, her mother had Cassie propped up with a pillow. Cassie blinked her eyes and moaned.

Theresa held a wet cloth to her daughter’s forehead, smoothing her long, red hair back and crooning soft soothing words.

Bryanna put on a kettle of water for the herbs before rummaging through her kit. “I think they’re getting worse,” she said. She pulled out the herbal tea they used for Cassie’s fits. “We’re almost out. This is one of the last packages of herbs I spelled last summer.” She exchanged worried looks with her mother. The spells had taken hours and the tea was almost gone.

Theresa’s brow knit. “I don’t want to put pressure on you, but…”

Bryanna bowed her head and pushed the bitterness out of her words, “I’ll try to help her.”

She was a failure as a healer, and her family knew it. She was too young, too inexperienced, too inept. She should have had someone to help her with her Gift. Should have had more than some scraps of notes and the occasional words of wisdom from the few healing witches who had let them stay. Should have had formal schooling. Trina had had Theresa to show her how to be a green witch and Cassie’s visions just came, everyone knew the Goddess favored psychics, but Bryanna had nothing.

No mentor, no training, no skills.

She spread her feet wide, closed her eyes, and inhaled, attempting to block out Cassie’s panting and their mother’s anxiety. She’d gleaned what she could from the one or two books that had survived their nomadic lifestyle. None of them had done much more than give advice on how to heal minor bumps and bruises. Psychic migraines weren’t in the table of contents.

This wasn’t working. She was too distracted by the pressure of her mother’s expectations. She couldn’t focus on her breathing, couldn’t relax enough to open her Gift and draw power. Her sister needed her, and she was failing.

She took another deep breath and searched for serenity. A trickle of calm slid over her aura, coating her in a thin layer of peace.

“Get a bowl,” Cassie panted.

Bryanna jolted. Her eyes flew open as her centering fractured.

Her sister’s sheet-white face went an odd shade of green. Before she could react, her mother placed a bowl beneath Cassie’s chin and lifted her up. Bile spewed from Cassie’s mouth and the smell of vomit rose.

She turned away. Useless. She was useless.

Even if she got focused, she couldn’t do much more than take the edge off of Cassie’s pain. She was no better than a cup of her own herbal tea.

Theresa wiped Cassie’s mouth. “Shhhh, sweetling. We’ll get Bryanna’s tea down you, and in an hour or so, you’ll be right as rain.”

“There’s…no…time.” Cassie tried to sit up, grimaced, and sank back, clutching her temple. Her green eyes were anxious. “The ogres are coming. Now.”

“Don’t be silly.” Theresa shook her head. “You’ve always managed to keep us one step in front. There’s time.”

“No! I saw them.” She clawed at her mother’s hand. “They’re here.”

Bryanna lifted the faded yellow curtain and looked out the kitchen window. She frowned.

Small, run-down bungalows lined the deserted alley. Nothing out of the ordinary, just dusty dry yards, battered chain link fences, and another stray tumble weed kicking its way down the strip of dirt separating the houses. She went to the living room. The view out the front window seemed just as empty. She realized she couldn’t hear anything. No kids, no cars, no people.

The tiny hairs on her arms lifted.

She let the front curtain drop. “There’s nothing there, Cassie.” She returned to the kitchen, crossed to the screen door, and pushed it open, taking another long look. Cassie was never wrong. The ogres would be here. Bryanna had never seen a premonition hit Cassie so hard, so fast. There was no way they could move her like this. She couldn’t even lift her head without barfing, how could they possibly get her into the van and drive?

“Mama,” whispered Cassie, as if she’d heard her sister’s unspoken thoughts. “Mama, there isn’t much time. You both have to go.” She rolled into a ball on the hard tile floor, her drawn face hidden under her bent arm and loose curls.

“We aren’t leaving you.” Theresa’s voice shook. She clutched Cassie’s free hand, desperation and fear in her eyes. She spoke quietly, her voice tight. “Bryanna, make sure the doors and windows are locked.”

Bryanna ran. With time, maybe she could center, and concentrate, and draw Cassie’s pain. But Cassie said there was no time.

As she closed the kitchen door, she spotted a whirl of dust forming in the alley behind the house. The small spiral was obliterated by a lurid, purple mist that shimmered in the hot sun. The mist grew as tall as next door’s dead fruit tree, and blocked the view of the neighboring houses.

Fear slid up her back and her heated skin went cold. She’d never seen one, but she didn’t have to, to know they were screwed.

“There’s a portal forming in the road!”

She raced from window to window, shutting and locking every one with sweat-slick hands, knowing it was pointless. The strong arms of an ogre would make short work of the thin aluminum frames. She wished they’d been able to afford a rental with protective grates of cold iron over the windows, like most of the neighbor’s houses had. Iron was protection from gang-bangers, ex-husbands, and the fae.

“Bryanna, go to my bedroom and bring me the box from my bottom dresser drawer,” Theresa said. “Hurry.”

“Why…?

“Just go!”

She ran to her mother’s bedroom and struggled with the sticky drawer, digging through socks and scarves, flinging them on the floor in a mad rush. Her mother had transported the box from house to house, carrying it as if it were capable of blowing up in her hands. Never letting anyone else touch it, forehead furrowed and tense.

Bryanna’s hand hit silk-covered wood. Even through the protective cover, a quiver of power thrummed under her fingertips.

She took a deep breath and pulled back the heavy, black silk. Strange runic carvings blurred and danced. She blinked rapidly until their movement settled down, before picking it up. Electricity shot into her palms and she dropped it back into the drawer. Wiping her tingling hands on her shorts she stared at it, a snake nestled among her mother’s black, white, and purple socks.

An infinitesimal pop hurt Bryanna’s ears in a sudden drop of air pressure. She darted a look out the bedroom window. The purple-grey mist had grown larger and darker, coalescing and opening into something she’d never wanted to see, the swirling maw of a portal.

“Bryanna!”

She grabbed the box, ignoring the electricity shooting through her palms and up her wrists. She raced up the short hall and into the kitchen. Cassie’s drained skin seemed even paler, her feathered eyelids were closed, and under the old, wool navy blanket, her long limbs shook.

Theresa eyed the box. “I never thought we’d be this desperate.”

Bryanna crouched down next to her mother on the floor. “What is it? What does it do?” She put the box down, relieved when her hands stopped tingling.

A huge roar sounded outside. Then another, and another, until the sound of ogres was so loud that Bryanna could barely hear her mother.

“Whatever happens, hold on to your sister.” Theresa stood up. “Come along, Cassie, it’s time.” She pulled her sick daughter up off the floor.

Cassie leaned on her mother. “Go without me. I’ll hold you back.” Her skin flushed green and she whimpered.

“Nonsense.” Their mother passed Cassie over to Bryanna and she staggered under her sister’s full weight. “Here you go, we’ll be out of here in a jiffy.”

Theresa opened the box. From the crimson, satin-lined interior, she pulled out a silver chain formed of inch-long ovals. A golden globe, the size of a large apple, swung from the chain. She pulled the necklace over her head and a soft, shimmering light spread out from the pendant.

The glow brightened. Bryanna blinked at the glare and cradled Cassie’s head against her shoulder, sheltering her sister’s sensitive eyes.

Whomp!

The kitchen wall shook. Chunks of ceiling fell, peppering them in dust and drywall. Bryanna stretched out her fingers and tugged the faded gingham curtain aside. The hairy face of an ogre smooshed against the glass, its brown, leathery lips spreading out wide.

She jumped.

Fingers still tangled in the curtain, she held her scream down deep in her throat and clutched her sister as more roaring ogres, clubs gripped in hairy fists, poured out of the misty tendrils of the portal and filled the alley. She managed to open her mouth and make her lips and tongue move, the words slow and choked. “Whatever it is, Mama, we’d better use it now.”

“Hold tight girls, and pray it works. It’s really only meant for one.”

Bryanna firmed up her grip on her sister, swallowed at the rank smell of Cassie’s breath, and shielded her from the chunks of old plaster raining down from above. Her mother wrapped her arms around them both, pressing the tingle of the globe between them. The glow grew bigger, enveloping them in a sphere of golden light. There was a slight dizzy feeling and the quiet pop of a bursting bubble.

Then the falling ceiling, the old kitchen, and the bulbous nose of the ogre crashing through the window, disappeared.

Check back next Monday for the second excerpt of chapter one.

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Hungry for dark twisted fairy tales of fantasy and seduction? Strong heroines and supernatural heroes come together, take on evil, and fall in love.  Subscribe to my new release only mailing list to receive announcements when my latest in my steamy fantasy romance series Tales of the Black Court is released.

 

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Filed under Fae, fairy tales, Fantasy Romance, Moonday mania, Prince by Blood and Bone, witches

Fairy tale Inspiration for Prince by Blood and Bone

Thursday’s Bite

a fantasy romance blog

Happy spring! Or happy snow as the case may be. We’ve been alternating between a few warm days and a few snowy days, but that’s pretty typical for Colorado. As I write my next twisted fairy tale romance, I’m watching my bulbs bloom and anxiously waiting to see if the apple tree blblossoms right when it snows. (Also pretty typical for Colorado!)

In case you missed it, I released book two, in the twisted fairy tale series: Tales of the Black Court, and announced it HERE. There is also a short excerpt from chapter one to get you chomping at the bit. And PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE, A FANTASY ROMANCE OF THE BLACK COURT  received it’s first amazing review from Books to Curl Up With. It really made my day Tuesday. Here’s my favorite quote.

 You will shed a tear, cheer and scream at your e reader while reading this book. The action is great and the love story takes a life of its own. Jessica weaves the best twisted fantasy .”

You can check out the full post HERE.

Now on to the fairy tale inspiration for my fantasy romance Prince by Blood and Bone.

Prince by Blood and Bone is a twist of the Beauty and the Beast tale, but in writing it I pulled from more than one fairy tale. I’ve always noticed the similarities in East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Beauty and the Beast. In both of them the girl doesn’t have faith and messes up and loses her easy chance at love. She has to dig deep and find her courage to go back to save the enchanted prince. In Beauty and the Beast it’s as easy as going back to him and asking for forgiveness and telling him she loves him, even if he is a beast. In other words, seeing the true man inside the monster. But in East of the Sun, West of the Moon the heroine has to do more. She has to travel to the ends of the earth and confront his evil mother and her cohorts.

Obviously someone thought the heroine in Beauty and the Beast had it too easy, and I agree. It’s so much more interesting to have to delve deep into yourself and find the courage to strike off on your own and fight for your man. That’s why you’ll find Prince by Blood and Bone goes father than the original tale. Bryanna has to find her faith in herself and has to also have faith that Kian is more than a beast. Maybe even more than a Prince.

I’ll leave you with another source of inspiration for me. I love the Celtic legends and here’s another tale of a heroine who needs to be strong and hold onto her love for a fae-touched man, who might be a beast. There are several versions of the Tam Lin tale including some where Janet needs to snatch her lover out of the wild hunt and away from the fairy queen. In this one, when you listen, Carterhaugh is a forest. Enjoy!

You can find Prince by Blood by Bone at these fine online locations:

Amazon

AllRomance Ebooks

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Ibooks

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