Category Archives: The Dark Huntsman

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!


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

The Dark Huntsman Nominated for Best Paranormal Romance in the Rone Awards

Moonday Mania

a blog for today

2014 rone award badge


It’s time to vote! The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court has been nominated for a RONE Award and voting starts today! Please jump over to InDtale Magazine and vote in the fantasy romance category.

This contest is a total popularity contest, which I have a tougher time placing in because I’m still a relatively small author, but with your help, I might just make it. 🙂

Voting runs April 14th-20th, so head on over and make your opinions known!
I’m super excited! The RONE award nominations to help decide the best in romance are out and The Dark Huntsman has made the list! (I’m not sure there are enough exclamation points for something like this.) InDtale Magazine nominates all of their top reviewed romances, so once The Dark Huntsman received 4.5 stars it made the list. As if getting such a fabulous review wasn’t enough. ‘grin!’

And if you feel like tweeting or spreading the word on Facebook, go right ahead. I could use any help you are gracious enough to provide.

Thanks to each and every one of you for reading and reviewing The Dark Huntsman. I love reading all the fabulous reviews and I’m so excited that people are enjoying the book. Thank you for voting!



Filed under Events, Moonday mania, The Dark Huntsman

How to Discover Paranormal Romance

Thursdays Bite

a blog for the paranormal romance lover

fussy librarian seal of approval In this day and age of digital shopping, how are we supposed to find paranormal romance books we love when there are masses and masses of new romance titles every day?

In the old days, I would go to the library and look at the shelves, check out a book and see if I liked the author. If I did, then I would go buy all their books. And that was if my library carried romance. Or paranormal romance. Usually  I would go to the bookstore and check out the new, romance covers and decide that way. But now, both of those ways of shopping for books have deep flaws.

With publishers shrinking their mid-list authors, the only new authors on the bookstore shelves are the same old authors. And bookstores do not carry very many indie-authors, the most prolific and inventive authors out there. As for libraries I found out that ours gets rid of books that haven’t been checked out in a year. That means many of my favorites won’t be there for new readers to discover. Or they only have books two and three, and I really want to start with book one. And libraries also are unable to include many indie authors. They have to discover them too!

So what’s the best way to find new paranormal romance books? And new paranormal romance authors to love?

If you want to try the newest romance authors you need to shop online. But if you go to Amazon, you are at the mercy of what they think you might like. My inbox is full of Amazon letters suggesting mostly books I’m not interested in. Here’s where my new way of shopping comes in.

Lists, like The Fussy Librarian, help readers discover new books to read. You may have heard of Book Bub or Kindle Daily Deals, but The Fussy Librarian is different. Not only does it sort the books into categories, like paranormal or mystery, but it also sorts out your heat and violence preferences. Here’s how they put it:

With millions of books out there, it can be time consuming to find the good stuff. We can help! Only The Fussy Librarian remembers what genres you like and your preferences about language, violence and sexual content. Like only cozy mysteries? We’ll only send you an email when there’s a mystery that doesn’t have sex, violence or profanity. Read everything? We’ll send you lots of suggestions each day. It’s that easy!

This is terrific! Not only are my books sorted by the genre I want to read most, but I won’t be getting too many sweet novels mixed in with my spicy ones. Or vice versa, if you prefer the sweet ones, you won’t have to look at BSDM covers! It’s a terrific idea and I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

Tomorrow my paranormal romance novel, The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, will be featured in a mailer from The Fussy Librarian.

Check out the Fussy Librarian today and see how to sign up for targeted emails that are aimed at exactly your reading preferences. Discover new books, romance, mystery, horror, and only get the ones in your inbox that you want. Click HERE to sign up today.

How do you discover new books? Do you subscribe to any mailing lists? Do you depend on Amazon to suggest reading for you?


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Filed under Book Sales, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

Taking the Day Off!

 Moonday Mania

a blog because it’s moonday!

My Goodreads Giveaway ends soon! If you haven’t hopped on and registered to win one of two print copies of the first book in the Tales of the Black Court series, The Dark Huntsman, then click on the link below and enter. It is open to International, so I hope all my friends in other countries take a chance!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends February 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I’m taking today off from blogging. That’s it, no blog, no writing, nada.

But wait! If that’s true, then why are you reading this, right now? 

Well, it’s because I’m taking the day off from finding a subject. I have a terrific list of ideas that I looked at just now, and none of them sparked my interest. Okay, that’s not true. One did, but it requires my full attention to write, so it will have to wait until I am more awake. You see, this is my first full day off of caffeine. YAY! (If you didn’t hear the sarcasm in that yay then you need the caffeine more than I do.)

jessica aspen's coffee cup

My favorite coffee cup, because it has coffee in it!

Why would any sane person give up America’s number one drug? (Maybe sugar is our number one drug, but given the number of Starbucks on any city street, I’m choosing caffeine.) Because I’m going to be going on a strict eating regime (any day now!) and one of the things I have to give up is coffee. And the almond milk that is the only thing I now put into what used to be a delicious, sugary, creamy concoction. Yes, even the decaf has to go.

So I’m sitting here at quarter to six in the morning, drinking my last cup of decaf with almond milk (no sugar please!) and trying to get enthusiastic about blogging.

And it’s not happening.


I haven’t talked about it much, because it doesn’t relate to my writing, books, or where I want my life to be, but I have some immune issues. And since my fall going into December was so incredibly stressful my body is falling apart. Okay, not literally. Thank goodness for some things. But I’m experiencing lots of my symptoms and it’s affecting my writing schedule to the point that I’m fed up! So I’m going on a strict diet to sort out if some of the things I love, like eggs, coffee, and almonds, are stressing my immune system.

I toyed with the idea of starting a seperate blog for talking about this, like Carole St. Laurent’s Writing Healthy, but instead decided that I my immune system didn’t need the stress of another blogging site. (Yay for me for resisting the lure of more work!) So instead I’ll be doing a series of guest posts. If you want to know more about my immune system issues, food struggles, and my trying the Paleo diet this year, I’m in the process of writing a series of blog posts for Angela Quarles blog, When Paleo Met Sally and I’ll let you know when they post.

Meanwhile, I have fun herbal tea to get me through until I can (hopefully!) add the coffee back in. Keep me in your caffeine laden thoughts, and I’ll be more awake on Thursday, I promise!


Filed under About the Author, The Dark Huntsman

Discovering Also Boughts

Thursdays Bite

a blog of the strange and wonderful

I’m giving away two copies of The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, and guess what? I’ve included international in this one. Many authors don’t include international, because of the shipping, but I want to make sure everyone has a shot at winning. So, if you live anywhere besides the USA now is your chance to enter to win! (Okay, I included US as well, you guys can enter to win.)  Giveaway ends soon! February 28, 2014.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends February 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

When you look at the purchase page on Amazon for The Dark Huntsman, at the bottom, you find the Also Boughts. They change based on the day to day sales and purchasing, but for one moment in time these were the books that were Also Bought by people who purchased The Dark Huntsman. I thought you might enjoy taking a peek!

Magic Academy (A Fantasy New Adult Romance) [Kindle Edition]

Jillian Keep

Entreat Me [Kindle Edition]

Grace Draven

Taunting Destiny (The Fae Chronicles) (Kindle Edition)by Amelia Hutchins,Genevieve Scholl

Lizzy Ford

Charred Tears (#2, Heart of Fire) [Kindle Edition]

What other fantasy romances have you purchased? Do you look at the Also Boughts on Amazon to decide what you read? If not, how do you decide what book to purchase next? What about other websites?


Filed under Fae, fairy tales, Fantasy Romance, Sensational Saturday's, Supernaturals, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

All Romance Ebooks, B&N, and other Venues

Moonday Mania

a blog on writing

It’s official! Abracadabra Publishing is now on All Romance Ebooks and Barnes and Noble. You can get The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court in both epub and mobi formats on ARe, and epub on Barnes and Noble.

After working with Amazon I was a little nervous to load somewhere new, but ARe went off without too many hitches. The interface was a little tricky, and it had to have a cover photo of a very precise nature, but after several tries (and an emergency email to my cover artist) I got it loaded. And I’m super excited! This is the first time The Dark Huntsman has been available anywhere besides Amazon and Createspace.

all romance ebooks

If you haven’t gone over to check out All Romance Ebooks, you should. They are a dedicated romance readers website, so they not only have some fabulous books, but they also have a great support for them. The ARe Cafe has interviews and reviews of books available on the site, and there are even purchase incentive programs available.

One of the nice things is that many of the books are available in different formats, so if you have one of the esoteric e-readers, then you can still find books to read. I had the choice of several different formats, but I only loaded mobi and epub. Those are the most popular formats, and they are the two that I’ve done successfully. At least I hope they are a success!

It is a member site, they  have a form of chat and I think you can find a reading buddy, as well. Since it’s all romance, it’s easy to search for what you want. And you won’t get children’s adventure books! All four of my books are available there and I was able to find them by title, publisher, or by author, without any trouble. They also let authors post information about themselves and blog. I’ll be a guest on their blog in February writing about Happily Every Afters in my stories, something I hope I know a little about.

Now that I’m free of the restrictions of Kindle Select I not only have the book up on ARe, but also Barnes and Noble and soon Kobo and Ibooks.

If you’ve read any of my books and have posted reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, please consider leaving a review on Barnes and Noble as well. I don’t seem to have as many reviews there and the only one for The Dark Huntsman was someone who apparently doesn’t even like paranormal romance, and got my heroine’s name wrong. Needless to say, I would love a few more reviews from readers who actually like paranormal romance. Why read and review something if you don’t even like the genre?

If you do leave a review, please leave me a comment here and let me know, I’ll be sure to check it out.

So, whether you have a kindle or use a format that takes epub, you can now download The Dark Huntsman on three different venues. And when Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court comes out, I’ll be uploading it to all three right away. No more Kindle Select in the near future. I enjoyed testing it out, and it was nice to not have to deal with uploading to or learning about so many new websites, but from now on I’ll be placing my eggs in lots of baskets.

What type of e reader do you use? Do you prefer to shop on the zon, or one of the smaller sites? Have you ever checked out ARe’s site? Leave a comment, inquiring minds would love to know!

Prince by Blood and Bone is almost ready for release!


Filed under Book Sales, Jessica Aspen's Books, Moonday mania, The Dark Huntsman, Writer's Journey

The Differences Between Gnomes

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

When writing fantasy romance, like the Tales of the Black Court series, an author has to work within a familiar concept and yet make it her own. One of the ways I’ve done that is I have taken common fantasy creatures and not only used them within my books, but I’ve changed them up a little.

Take goblins. Most of the public is familiar with the goblins from Harry Potter, the bankers of the Wizarding World. But that’s JK Rowling’s interpretation of goblins. Not every writer has to utilize that, and in fact, it’s a very specific interpretation of goblins, so not every writer should utilize it. The idea of goblins as wearing suits and running businesses is a clever way to go, but it’s not classic.

George MacDonaldMy first introduction to goblins, and to fairy tales in general, was through my mother. She had a very large, very old, very much loved book called, The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald. For those of you who may not know, George MacDonald was an inspiration for authors like JR Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and CS Lewis. He wrote original tales where good triumphed over evil and who a person was underneath was what mattered most.

The goblins in MacDonald’s books live deep in the mines and are scary, creepy creatures, who don’t come out into the daylight and will GET YOU! if you are not careful. I loved that book and when it comes to goblin inspiration its one of my main resources. Because of that, my goblins are natural underground dwellers. And they are creepy. But I still needed to give them my own twist.

In my fantasy world of Underhill, there are goblins, brownies and three types of gnomes. Today I’m focusing on the gnomes because in my world there are several varieties. In The Dark Huntsman, Trina and Logan question a garden gnome, one of the wild gnomes you can find everywhere in Underhill living among the tiny flower fairies and conducting their own business of catching fish and living off of the land, or inhabiting the land near houses and working in their gardens for a bit of extra money.

Then there are the common grey cave dwellers, who are small, a little weak, and not as bright. You might think of them as the worker gnome. At around 3 feet tall they have flat faces and round bulbous eyes. They’re coloring is all the same, if you had a roomful of them it would be difficult to tell them apart. They most commonly live in small groups and tend to be pushed by the powers that be of Underhill.

Next, there are the Galentian gnomes. These are tall gnomes, five to five and a half feet. The Galentian gnomes have an entire society of their own. They live in large communal groups that reside underground in warrens. My book, Prince by Blood and Bone, takes place partially in an abandoned warren that was one of their largest, most complex palaces, Cairngloss. Located in what is nominally callled the North it was abandoned when the White Queen moved in and took over the area and brought the extreme cold with her. Galentian gnomes like more moderate climates.

The last type of gnome is the Scalian gnome. Reclusive and bookish, they run just under the height of the Galentian gnomes, with the occasional very tall one as tall as the tallest Galentian gnome. It is rumored that they are closely related. Not much is known about them, but they are extremely smart, and are occasionally used as consultants by the peerage of Underhill.

I’ve featured gnomes, especially Beezel, a common cave gnome, in Prince by Blood and Bone. It’s been fun to create my own version of gnomes, brownies, and elves, even though it takes time to make sure you have all your details correct. If it weren’t for my extensive fantasy reading over the years, I might be afraid to expand my universe and try new traits and features out for what are common terms, but thanks to creative authors over the years, I’m not. I’m happy to spin large tales with surprising characters and creative back-stories.

What sort of fantasy do you read? Are you familiar with other types of gnomes, trolls, and goblins? Are you willing to jump from author universe to author universe, or are you a rules-person-rigidly adhering to the one set of rules you were familiar with when growing up?

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Filed under Fantasy Romance, paranormal inspiration, Prince by Blood and Bone, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

Tales of the Black Court Blog Tour and Where the heck is Book Two?

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

Hi, I’m still on tour  with The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, and there are only a few spots left to go. Here are all the fabulous romance blogs that I’ll be appearing on for the rest of the week:

the dark huntsman blog tourJan 9 Interview
Aly @ Aly’s Miscellany
Jan 9 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
Jan 9 Spotlight
Book Suburbia
Jan 10 Guest blog and review
Victoria’s Gossip
Jan 10 Spotlight
Paranormal Romance and Beyond
Jan 10 review
Mousehead & Tales
Jan 13 Spotlight and review
The Book Landers
Jan 13 Spotlight and review
On the Broomstick
Jan 13 Spotlight
Tattooed Book Review
I’m loving all my tour hosts, and guess what? So far, overall, they love the book. That’s amazing to me and has got me excited for Prince by Blood and Bone, which was supposed to be out by now. But it’s not. If you were wondering, I’ve hit a few snags. My editor got it back to me nearly a month late, and of course by that time I was working and I dropped the ball. I did get through all of her edits, but while I was doing that I realized I needed to tweak it one more time. And then there were the holidays. Also I’m waiting on my cover artist to get my cover to me. It’s harder than you think to put just the right cover elements together and she has a life too. Sigh.
No worries, the book will be out soon. All I need to do is get the cover together, finish my final run through, convince my oops editor that she has the time to get it done ASAP, and put it all together. Not much, right? LOL
At this point I’m having to say, okay, this book will be out much later than I had anticipated. And learn from the whole experience.
What have I learned?
Number One: Wait to tell anyone when the book will be out until it’s at the oops editor and has a cover.
Number Two: Get the cover way in advance. Much further than I think I need it, because there are bound to be issues.
Number Three: Don’t sweat it when life intervenes, because it always does. Just because I set the goal and thought I’d put it all in place to achieve it, doesn’t mean everyone else in my life will fall in line.
And Number Four: Okay, there really is no number four. That’s all I learned.
So, the book will be out when it’s out and I am doing everything I can to facilitate that. Then it’s on to book number three, Broken Mirror. Needless to say I’ll be applying all my hard won lessons. So when is book three coming out. Sorry, my lips are sealed, but I will tell you MY goal is before 2015!
What has fallen apart in your life lately? Have you had to give up control to other people and then wait for them to come through? What about your own planning, was it appropriate? Did it have fail-safes? Leave me a comment, I’m always interested in what you have to say. Unless it’s that spammy stuff about sales. Sorry, you all get deleted. 🙂


Filed under Bloghops, facing failure, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

Seven Men to Twist and Bend

Thursdays Bite

a blog on fairytales

Business first! I’m a guest on fellow Colorado Romance Author  Cynthia Woolf’s blog, featuring The Dark Huntsman. It ran yesterday, but you can still hop on by and post a comment. Also, I have a 99cent sale coming up in December and it’s not just my book! I Read Fantasy! is having two days of sales and The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, will be on day two, so keep your eyes open for that opportunity. 

Fantasy Romance Holiday Promotion #1 will run Dec 4-7.

Fantasy Romance Holiday Promotion #2  will run Dec 11-14.  (The Dark Huntsman will be on this one.)

Now on to the blog:

Russian Fair Tale BookOne of my favorite twists of Snow White is old,and it’s difficult to tell which came first, the German one the Grimms set on paper or this one. Set in Russia Snow flees the evil step-mother and takes shelter with seven studly woodcutters. Not dwarves. Sometimes the men are noble knights, who take care of the princess. We think the tales are set in stone but when they were told around fires they were changed a little every time. It’s not until we set them in paper that they hold a static shape.

That’s one of the reasons when I twisted my tales of Snow White I chose to take different routes. From young sexy werewolves to  still sexy, thousand year old fae, I chose this section of the tale to stray from the story line. I kept the number seven, kept the idea of seven men living together in the wilderness, but changed them up.

Snow and the Seventh Wolf has a cabin full of young, hot werewolves, one of which is Seth, my angry alpha hero. They’ve chosen to leave their traditional packs and live closer to humans in a small, tourist area of Wyoming. Set in the cold, snowy mountains I now have six more men who could possibly have their own shape-shifter fairy tale twists, and in fact I think they are anxious to find their mates. From oldest to youngest, from the responsibly leader to the computer geek, women are not far from their minds and hearts.Snow and the Seventh Wolf by Jessica Aspen

I took a different route with The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court. The seven brothers of the Fir Bolg are older, and are Logan’s uncles. They’ve been enemies of the Tuatha De Danann for thousands of years and have strong reasons to hate the queen. I chose to only write about two of them, mostly because it became a challenge to differentiate between seven men in one scene. I had a fun seen with one in an apron cooking breakfast for Trina, but I ended up cutting it and the story is better for it, but maybe someday I’ll detail all their personalities.

So how else can you twist this tale? Could you do seven grumpy women? How about seven nuns cloistered on a mountain hilltop and a lost hero? Would you chose to go with the dwarves we are all familiar with? Or are you thinking about the possibility of seven sexy woodcutters and one lost lonely princess?

That’s what I love about choosing one element in a classic tale and changing it up. All our stories go back to a few common tales and whether you change the apple to a peach or maybe to peach jam, or you change the hero to a heroine, the choices are endless. Keep the number seven and a piece of fruit, a lost lonely girl and an evil step-parent and no matter how you twist it, it’s still Snow White. Or is it?

Who are you interested in for seven characters? Would you pick seven Valley Girls and a lost boy? Or seven frat boys and a fleeing snow boarder? What about seven men locked in a cabin for a business retreat and a lost supermodel?

Book two in the Tales of the Black Court will be coming out soon! Sign up for my newsletter for information on Prince by Blood and Bone and other special events. 

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Filed under Fae, fairy tales, paranormal inspiration, Snow and the Seventh Wolf, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, werecreatures

Midnight Inspiration

Moonday Mania

a blog about dark inspiration

Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone serving currently, who has served, or who has family serving. Thank you.

How do we discover the dark side of fairy tales? The dark side of romance? Where do the villains come from in fantasy and fantasy romance?

I’ve always been a sleeper. I was the kid who went upstairs at nine o’clock and put herself to bed every night. Even in college, although I really didn’t get to sleep until ten. But now, even though I find myself falling asleep in front of the TV on my husbands shoulder sometimes as early as 8:30, I also find myself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep.

It’s an odd feeling being the only one up, but it’s also a cool time to work. The house is silent, just me, the dog and the cat. I get on the computer and my muse is right there with me. That’s when the darker ideas come. The ones I haven’t really put into a book yet. I have a file of dark meanderings more suitable to horror or suspense than fantasy romance. Or are they?

Maybe I can work in the darker images, maybe I’ll move into darker heroes and more tortured heroines. Suicide, patricide, homicide. While I’ve alluded to these sorts of things in The Dark Huntsman, and the queen has taken out an entire tribe of people, tortured many more, and is increasingly going down the path to insanity, I haven’t delved into the depths of her personality yet. Or what brought her there. I’ve written it. Her past. What fractured her into a woman whose Gift is splintered powerful personalities. She wasn’t always this way. Once she was a little girl. A fairy princess in a corrupt court whose father only wanted power, even at her expense.

Should that story be published? A father’s betrayal, the princess destroyed, and her crawl back to something that could function? Even if her definition of functional is deeply flawed. And what about her right hand man, Haddon? I have a story for him too. A boy whose life started out as the whipping boy for a spoiled princess and what happens to him when she is gone from court and he is at the mercy of the king? What happens to him when she returns, broken and glued back together but with holes and cracks that leak her emotions through onto everyone around her? How could a boy survive that?

Yes, that’s what comes out of my computer when it’s dark outside and no one is around. Torture and depravity and healing that results in broken adults. And that’s what lurks behind the villains in my fairy tales. The ghosts of the witching hour.

Should I write those stories? Should I write about the way my villains formed? Or, more accurately, should I let you see what I’ve already written, the dark side of fantasy?




Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, paranormal inspiration, The Dark Huntsman