Category Archives: Fae

Squee! The Winter Queen’s Dragon Cover is here!

Thursday’s Bite

a blog for fantasy romance lovers

I am super excited to reveal the cover for Book Four in the Tales of the Black Court, my fantasy romance series. I love the new direction for my fantasy covers. It keeps so many elements from the first covers—the font, the magic, a single person—but it adds in something new: the hero!

Ever since I started publishing this series I’ve had readers ask, where are the heroes? They should be on the covers too. And for this book, I’m featuring Doyle, my sexy dragon shifter. Love writing this romance between a fae and a shifter, and I can’t wait until it’s out!

the winter queen's dragon a fantasy romance by jessica aspen

What’s a heroine to do when her dragon captor is not only her enemy’s best defense…
but is also the man of her dreams?

Deep in the north of the fae world of Underhill, Siobhan has been frozen for a hundred years. Finally gaining her freedom from the ice the only thing on her mind is vengeance. Instead, she becomes the prisoner of the Winter Queen’s Dragon: Atavantador. But nothing is as it seems. To become powerful enough to get her revenge, Siobhan must make an unlikely ally—the dragon’s sexy manservant, Doyle.

Doyle is hiding more than one secret—and all of them are worth his life. To keep the queen on his side he must play the game of dragon so well that no one guesses his true secret: beneath the Winter Palace lies one of the keys to all dragon kind’s survival.

And time is running out.

Can Siobhan trust a man who is secretly her dragon captor and sworn to protect the Winter Palace? Or will she find out that ending a queen’s reign means sacrificing true love in her quest for revenge.

Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of fast-paced fantasy romance
 Tales of the Black Court

 

*****

Pre-order today at:

Ibooks       Kobo       Barnes & Noble

 

***

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 newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under Fae, Fantasy Romance, shifters, The Winter Queen's Dragon, Thursdays Bite

Mixing Up the Cannons

Thursdays Bite

a fantasy romance blog

I’ve done something bad. Something fantasy romance writers aren’t “supposed” to do. I even had someone on a loop take me to task for it because you poor romance readers would be confused. What is this awful, terrible, thing that I’ve done?

I’ve mixed cannons.

prince by blood and bone by jessica aspenMy fantasy romance books are not strictly Irish, or Scottish, nor are they steeped in the legends of the North, like Tolkein’s books. I’ve brought in all of those things, mixed it up. I have leaned heavily on the Irish myth and history, but if I like something from somewhere else, I pull it in. Like using the word elves. Even though you as a reader may not realize it, when I did that, I dipped into Germanic stories.

Now why would I do that? Why would I not stick strictly to one mythology or another. Maybe it’s because I see the links in all the myths. They all have elves, even if they don’t call them that name. What’s in a name? Is it the way something is defined? Or is it the thing itself?

I don’t believe that. If an elf were to visit, and someone called him an “elf” in one land and a “shining one” in another land, then it doesn’t change what he himself is. I see the fae mythology as seeping into all cultures. So to me the race of fae, elves, shining ones visited all those places and the people there called them what they would. Made up stories about them. Perhaps only saw some of them and filtered their understanding through their culture.

That’s why I gave my “elves” their own name. Elvatian. Like humans they are a species. They have different cultures and colors and racial characteristics. Some are taller, some are shorter. They have political groups, like the Fir Bolg and the Tuathan. Those names I borrowed from Irish history, but in the future I’ll be borrowing from other culture’s as well.And then there are the lesser fae. Like the Elvatian they come from a separate place of being, not Earth. But they aren’t elvatian. They are the gnomes, and the trolls, and the troll-kin. Their own races with whatever mixed skills and magics I choose to give them.

the dark huntsman by jessica aspenAnd I did all of this on purpose. Yes. I said it. On purpose. Because, unlike that person on the loop, I think all of you can stretch your imaginations behind the rules of each individual culture. I think you can understand that the elvatian, who cross the boundaries of time and place using portals, wouldn’t be bound to one small island or one small continent. They explor our world, and other worlds via the passages in Underhill and the portals, and maybe even through other ways we haven’t even seen yet.

A species like that isn’t limited. And that’s why I broke the rules.

There’s a saying in the writing world, and you hear it all the time. Know and understand the rule before you break it.

Bah! Just crash through them, baby!

I’m currently immersed in Broken Mirror and the amazing impossibilities of crossing cultures. By mixing and mingling fairytales I get to play in different cultures and make my own world rules. Who knew playing creator could be so fun! Hope you are having fun this summer too!

 

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Filed under Fae, Fantasy Romance, Tales of the Black Court, Thursdays Bite, Writer's Journey

Red The Were Hunter by Rebekah Garniere

Thursdays Bite

a fairy tale blog

Please welcome Rebekah Garniere to Jessica Aspen Writes. Like me, she twists fairy tales into romances, and her first book in her series is based on Little Red Riding Hood. And like me, she incorporated werewolves. That’s where the similarities end. Check out, Red the Were Hunter.

Red The Were Hunter is the first in nine fairytale retellings that are all woven together in the same world. When I started out I only had the idea for Red and that was all. But then I started thinking of all the other cool fairytales out there and thought it would be fun to weave them all together in a fairytale land called Fairelle. There’s a mythos behind the entire world of how they used to be all humans and united under one banner. But when the king was about to die, his four sons called forth a demon to grant them each a single wish so they would have superiority and be able to rule the kingdom alone. However, the demon twisted their wishes to his own purposes and transformed the four brothers into four different races. Werewolf, vampire, fae and neriad. From there a war broke out dividing and devastating the world. Red The Were Hunter begins many centuries after that war.

 

In the nineties there was a miniseries called the 10th Kingdom. It did a similar thing, weaving the stories together. I loved that miniseries, but was bummed that the series only followed a few main characters. So I decided that in my series I would make each book about a different couple and their story. The characters weave in and out of each other’s books though. They all know each other in one way or another, or are connected through mutual friends. For instance, in Red The Were Hunter you see a vampire named Sage. He is the vampire prince from Snow The Vampire Slayer. And one of Snow’s brothers is the hero of the third book, Zelle and the Tower. I found that a fun way to write them

 

It’s hard working in the original fairytales. If you look at what movie companies have done to the original fairytales over the years, you find few similarities. I found, that for me, the best way was to tell my own stories in my own style, and for grown ups. My brothers, in Snow The Vampire Slayer, are not like the seven dwarfs of Snow White done by Disney. My Rapunzelle from Zelle and the Tower, is not like the Rapunzelle of old. My females are take charge women, rarely are they damsels in distress. My men are heroes, but most come with baggage, and they aren’t always nice. However I do try and put elements from the original stories in that people will recognize. Things like, Red’s cloak. The apple from Snow White. Zelle’s long hair. Things like that. But I think the best way to try and do a fairytale retelling is to make the story your own and give it a new twist on an old theme. So what’s your favorite fairy tale?

 

 

red the were hunter coverRED THE WERE HUNTER

 

What if you were the key to an ancient prophecy that would begin to heal your lands, but fulfilling your destiny meant you had to turn your back on everything you’d been taught to believe in?

Redlynn of Volkzene, member of the Sisterhood of Red, is heartbroken to discover another  girl kidnapped and her best friend slain by werewolves. Defying the head of her order, she sets out to kill the beast she believes responsible.  The King of the Weres– But there are worse things in Wolvenglen Forest than the wolves.

Adrian, reluctant heir to the throne of Wolvenglen, and his band of wolf brothers are bound to protect the humans; especially the Sisterhood. Finding Redlynn unconscious in his woods, awakens in him a passion he’s never before experienced and a protective instinct that has him ready to turn on his own men. Problem is, a female is the last thing Adrian needs complicating his life.  

But all is not as it seems in Wolvenglen Forest and to save the missing girls before time runs out, Redlynn and Adrian must move past their inner demons and learn to trust each other. In the search for vengeance however, sometimes you must give up what you desire most.

EXCERPT:

Redlynn whipped her head from side to side. Where am I? Pain exploded in her neck; she tried to reach up with her left arm, but it was pinned to her stomach. It’d been strapped in place by a strip of red cloth. Why am I half-naked? Her tunic and cloak were gone. So was her locket. Redlynn looked around frantically for her locket. Pain hit her in waves, confusing her and forcing her to breathe deeply. She refused to cry.

            Trying to process her surroundings, the fight with the Were flooded back to her. Shockingly, it seemed she wasn’t dead, she was alive, and in someone’s very richly furnished bedroom. She wiped at her face with her right hand, her vision muddled.

            Stone walls surrounded the large, mahogany, four-poster bed she lay upon. Dark, heavy curtains were partially drawn at the end of the bed. On either side, two ancient and beautiful nightstands held ornately carved glass oil lamps. A fire crackled, its golden glow peeking in the gaps of the curtains.

            Redlynn maneuvered herself to the side of the bed and set her feet on the floor. It was colder than her wooden planks at home. Slowly she scooted off the downy mattress, and tried to steady herself on one of the posts. She weakened, the blood draining from her head, her legs wobbling beneath her.

            On the floor lay her cloak. She stooped to pick it up, but lost her balance. At the last minute, she braced herself on the stone wall and avoided its colliding with her face. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself once more and slowly reached down for the cloak, pressing herself into the stone for support. It took her several minutes to get the clasps buckled so that she was covered almost to her waist.

            By the time she finished, her body shook like she’d tried to pull a wagon by herself. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to clear her mind and listen for sounds. A faint rhythmical buzzing cam e from somewhere near the fire. Pushing past the end of the bed, she saw a large man asleep at a table.

            His head was tilted to the side and long, wavy black hair fell over his eyes and chiseled features. His large and strong form was set with broad shoulders and a powerfully built frame. He’d fallen asleep in his linen shirt and breeches, with his boots still on. A flutter settled in her stomach, the same surge of adrenaline she got before a fight. He was snoring. What was he doing there?

            Confused, Redlynn wasn’t sure if it was her fighting instincts kicking in, or something else all together. Part of her wanted to know what his lips would feel like on hers. Another part wanted to run.

            What the hell is wrong with you? You’d think you’d never seen a man before. She swallowed hard. She hadn’t.Not a man like him.

            She searched for an exit and found it to the far left of the room. The sleeping man didn’t look like he was guarding her, but why would he be in the same room with her, if he weren’t? She scanned the room for her things. Her pack, bow and quiver were nowhere to be found. If she were going to break out, she needed a weapon.

            On the table lay a tray with an empty plate, a knife, fork and spoon. Redlynn inched toward the knife. The closer she got to him, the more drawn she was to him. She stopped, a foot from the table.

            Keep it together! He’s only a man, and obviously your guard. For all you know, he could be a murderer!

            She slid her good hand across the polished wooden surface. As she reached for the knife, her collarbone burned with pain. She stumbled, tripping over her cloak and crashing into the plate.

            The man was up in an instant. Rising, his chair clattered to the ground. Redlynn grabbed hold of the knife and held it out in front of herself, backing away. It took him a moment to comprehend what was going on. He stared at her, not moving. She shook like a rabbit. He had golden eyes.     

            “Your . . .  your eyes,” she whispered.

            “What’s wrong with them?”

            “They . . .  They’re gold.”    

            “They’re brown.”

            “No . . .  No, they aren’t.” She shook her head. “They’re golden… just like—”

            “Like yours,” he murmured.

            Redlynn nodded, her head fuzzy, and her knees wobbly. She blinked several times. His eyes were brown. They had golden flecks in them, but they were definitely brown.

            “You’ve had a bad wound. You should rest.”

            “I have to leave. I have something I need to do.”

            “Do you remember what happened?”

            “Where am I?”

            “In Wolvenglen.”

            “Who in their right mind would live in Wolvenglen? Don’t you know there are Weres out here?”

            “Please, put down the knife.” He motioned to the knife Redlynn had forgotten she was pointing at him.

            She glanced at it and weighed it in her hand. It was solid. Her hunting knife was larger, but she could make do with it if need be.

            “Where are my things? I need to go.”

            “Hanna, our healer, will bring them in the morning when she comes to check on you, and bring you a change of clothes.”          

            Still holding the knife, she reached up and touched her collarbone, underneath her cloak. A bandage covered the wound. It was tender. Peeling it away, she assessed what she could see of the damage.

            “I wouldn’t do that,” he warned.

            Redlynn gave him a hard stare and went back to inspecting the wound. She stuck her fingers in the salve and rolled it between her thumb and forefinger, smelling it.

            “Comfrey and calendula.” Pulling at the green leaves, she winced as they ripped a piece of skin and seeped. Smelling the leaves, she put them in her mouth and chewed them before spitting them out. “Fernblend. Did she do that?”

            “No, I did.”

            “Don’t you know you have to keep it wet?”

            “I thought saving your life was more important,” he bit back. “You were in bad shape when I found you.”

            “Well when I scrub it off, I am going to wish I were dead. Where did you find me, anyway?”

            “Listen.” He took a deep breath. His eyes softened and his voice gentled. “I was trying to help you. It was one of the few things I remember my mother teaching me about herbs.”

            “Your mother’s a healer?”

            “Was. Now, will you please lie down before you pass out? You lost a lot of blood.”

            “I’ve had worse,” Redlynn lied. “I need to get my things and be on my way.”

            “You need to rest. You can barely hold that knife, let alone walk through the forest.”

            “I’ll be fine.”

            He stepped out of her way. “Very well. You are free to leave.” He motioned to the door.

            Was this a joke? Was he really going to let her go? Gripping the knife, she took several steady steps toward the exit before her knees buckled. He caught her around the waist, sending a shockwave of tingles through her body.

            His musky scent mixed in her nostrils and her head lightened again. His body wasn’t just warm, it was hot; he was a fire in his own right.

            “Let go,” she said softly.

            “I was merely keeping you from further injuring yourself.”

            His light blue tunic opened in a “v” and his chiseled, hairless chest peaked out beneath. Her eyes locked with his. He hadn’t shaved in a day or two; the whiskers looked ruggedly good on him. His face wore an expression she’d never seen aimed at her before. Desire. The butterflies in her stomach danced and spun. His face was so close as he studied her features.

            “Please, let go,” she choked.

 

rebekah garniereAUTHOR INFO:

Rebekah is an award winning author. Her first novel Dead Awakenings, debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, will be published May 1, 2014. Her trilogy The Society will be released in early 2015 by Kensington’s Lyrical Press. Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters. In her spare time when she isn’t writing you can find her moderating on Savvy Authors.com and in her local SCV Writers group, or hanging out with her husband, four children and dog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, three tortoises and a handful of fish. The escaped snake has yet to be found.

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Filed under Fae, fairy tales, guest post, Thursdays Bite, Vampires, Werewolves and the Fae

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:

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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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