Category Archives: witches

Celebrating the Pagan Calendar

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal pagan post

ghosts of christmas past by jessica aspenBefore I dive into the blog I want to thank all of my newsletter subscribers who have read and reviewed my new Gothic romance, Ghosts of Christmas Past. I love reading the new reviews, and I’m thrilled that you all love it! I was very scared to delve into something new, but I love Gothics and romantic suspense, so I really wanted to try. Thanks for taking the time to read and review, it not only gives me feedback for my writing, but it also opens doors for new readers to discover my romances. Thank you!

Ghosts of Christmas Past available at: 

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ibooks, AllRomanceEbooks

And for all of you who missed out on the opportunity to read and review Ghosts of Christmas Past for free, please sign up for my email newsletter. I do offer some goodies and you never know what’s coming next! Click HERE to sign up.

Now on to the blog!

Celebrating the Lunar Calendar

As many of you know I write about witches in my Tales of the Black Court fantasy romance series and with Halloween right around the corner, I thought it was time for another Pagan Post. When I write about witches in my romances I dip into the new Pagan traditions. That doesn’t mean I always stick with what people in the religion believe or celebrate, but it does mean that I bring in elements from new Paganism. And maybe a little from the old.

The Pagan calendar is divided up by the lunar calendar. In other words, there are thirteen months, instead of twelve, because there are thirteen full moon cycles during a year.

The days that mostly cover September fall into the “Month of Vine”. It begins September 2nd and ends  September 29th. Lunar months are shorter than our Gregorian Calendar  it’s how the lunar calander ends up with thirteen months instead of twelve. I love the idea of using the natural cycles of the Earth and Moon to regulate our days and nights. It makes much more sense to be able to look up in the sky and see that the month is drawing to a close, or that it is just beginning. And there is no pesky Leap Year to try to figure out.

The down side is that the lunar months shift back and forth. But maybe that’s all my perspective from my dependence on the Gregorian Calendar. Our normal calendar is very rigid. It doesn’t change much. It’s why we have the extra day every four years so we can steadfastly maintain our rigid days. It keeps us on task and on topic. Maybe we couldn’t have the organized society that we do without it?

Or maybe not.

Here is one list of names for the lunar months, starting with the New Year, which begins close to Samhain, or Halloween.

And then the cycle starts all over with the months shifting according to the cycle of the moon.

What would you think if we used a lunar calendar? Does that put us in closer contact with nature? What would we do for the people who live in the Southern hemisphere? Would they still be celebrating the winter holidays in the summer or would they have their own celebrations in tune with their own seasons?

Check out next week when I look into what happens to the pagan calendar in the Southern Hemisphere.

Author Bio:

jessica aspen, authorJessica 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 please go to: http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

 

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! http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

Leave a comment

Filed under Pagan Post, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite, witches

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

 

Leave a comment

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

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.

Purchase Prince by Blood and Bone today: Amazon AllRomanceEbooks Barnes and Noble Kobo & Ibooks

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.

 

1 Comment

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

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?

2 Comments

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

Working Wicca Into My World – Jessica Aspen

Thursdays Bite

a super quick guest blog note

Today I’m guesting on Worlds of the Imagination with the article:

Working Wicca Into My World – Jessica Aspen.

How witches and spells and modern Wicca became part of my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman.

trick or treat blog hopDon’t forget to stop by Sam Cheever’s blog and hit all thirteen authors in the Trick or Treat Blog Hop HERE and you can complete your entry at my stop HERE.

For more information on Jessica Aspen’s twisted fairy tale releases sign up for the New Release Email Blast. My next newsletter  should be coming soon with news about my Gothic Chritsmas novella: Ghosts of Christmas Past as well as book two of the Tales of the Black Court: Prince by Blood and Bone.

Have a terrific weekend! I’ll be partying it up at Hot Mojave Knights in Las Vegas. Romance, Romance Readers, and Romance Authors: WOOT! I’ll let you know all about it on Monday.

Cheers!

Jessica

Leave a comment

Filed under Bloghops, The Dark Huntsman, witches

Fairytale Book Trailers and More…

Thursdays Bite

a different view of paranormal romance

Before I bring you more amazing book trailers, I want to remind anyone whose missed it that my Goodreads ten print book Giveaway of my fantasy, fairy tale romance with elves, witches, and evil queens, The Dark Huntsman, will be ending on October 22nd. So make sure you enter, if you haven’t already.

Time for some new trailers!

I had to add this one since not only is it a fairy tale romance, but in The Dark Huntsman, Trina is a Gypsy Witch, and this book has both Gypsies and Fairy Tale in the title.

And from the same author, another paranormal trailer. I love the simplicity of this one but then I had to ask, does it give you enough information about the story. Let me know in the comments what you think.

Now this one doesn’t even have any words. Tell me what you think. Can you tell if it’s NA, YA or adult romance just from the pictures?

That’s all folks.  I’ll be on Joan Leacott‘s site with a cool interview on Monday, so check it out!

4 Comments

Filed under Book Trailers, Fae, fairy tales, Thursdays Bite, witches

Teaser Thursday and Goodreads #Giveaway for The Dark Huntsman

Thursdays Bite

a last bite of spicy, fantasy romance

I’m giving away ten PRINT copies of The Dark Huntsman, my spicy, fairytale romance, to Goodreads Readers. Enter below to win! This is my very first Goodreads giveaway, so I hope to see some new readers and some great reviews of the book. Already I have people lining up to request books, so sign up. I do know real people who have won real books. This time, one might be you!

Today I’m revealing the last tender morsel of chapter one. You can find bite one HERE, bite two HERE, and bite three HERE. And after that, if you want more of The Dark Huntsman Subscribe to my new release only mailing list and you’ll be the first to know when it hits the shelves. The virtual shelves of Amazon and Kindle Select, that is. Unless you are here in Colorado where I’ll be ordering copies into my local book small book store, The Book Cellar, in Louisville. So thanks for coming by today to read my last snippet and click the link below to hop over to Goodreads and enter to win The Dark Huntsman.

Enter to Win

one of Ten Print Copies of my fantasy romance: The Dark Huntsman

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends October 22, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The Dark Huntsman, excerpt number four.

the dark huntsman by jessica aspenThunder boomed.

Trina looked up the valley. The dying light made it impossible for her to see much more than the silhouette of a horse and rider barrel through the boulders and uneven terrain, tearing down the rocky hillside at an impossible speed. But no barrel racer would endanger their mount careening down the mountain in a thunder storm. Or ride a horse the color of the absence of light, with freakish red eyes. Only something truly inhuman would light up her inner sight with that particular eerie blue glow.

The acid in her stomach rose into her throat.

An elven lord.

Oh Fuck! I’m screwed.

She swallowed the acid down. Her trap, her best effort, all her hard work. Dumb. Stupid. Pathetic. None of it would hold an elven lord, a full adult fae whose power would make her trap look like an art project. She wished she could hide the evidence, like a small child wiping up the crumbs of stolen cookies.

Horse and rider skidded and slowed in a shower of ricocheting rocks. The enormous hounds flowed out surrounding the labyrinth. The cloaked rider and his dark mount advanced.

She held still, athame at the ready in her sweaty hands, prepared to bolt if she had the chance. Her eyes flicked from the approaching rider, distracted by the lesser threat of the huge, sharp-toothed, and yellow-eyed hounds encircling the labyrinth. Silent sharks waiting for the command to take their prey.

Her.

“Damn shame to kill you, witch.” His voice was smooth, well-aged whiskey with a hint of brogue.

“Then don’t.”

“What will you give me instead? A life requires a powerful exchange. I was sent for your death.”

Trina tried to keep her face even and not reveal her panic, or sudden fear and loss of confidence. She had nothing he could want. Anything of true power, that a fae like this one might consider valuable, was safely out of reach and driving down the road in the van. Gone. Along with any reinforcements.

“How about honesty?” She offered in desperation.

“Funny girl.”

The nervous sweat on her back grew cold.

“Although I would enjoy taking the time,” he said, his low voice carrying easily over the wind and thunder, “we shouldn’t stand here bargaining. The queen awaits my report.”

The dark presence leaned forward, his impatient mount’s feet shifting on the gravel. The lord’s level tone distracted her, and she was unprepared when the horse moved. The pair crashed effortlessly into the labyrinth, cutting a destroying swath across the short, brushy, sage and heading for her at the center. The wards failed. Spectacular violent explosions burst into cascades of colored lights, as if they were merely firecrackers, instead of huge magical grenades.

The overwhelming smell of crushed sage rose, and she swore the evil-eyed horse laughed. She reached inside for what was left of her power, losing her grip on it when he leaned over and grabbed her arm. With no apparent effort, he hoisted her up.

She scrabbled for a handhold in an effort to not fly over the horse into the waiting sea of teeth and dogs. She tangled one hand in the long black mane and held tight to her slippery knife with the other.

Strong arms wrapped in leather tightened around her, forced her upright, her toes dangling sidesaddle. Everything happening too fast. She barely had a grip in the long black mane when the creature flexed under her and they flew over the candles.

The flames blew out.

They landed on the other side of the labyrinth in a hard jolt. She slipped.

If I fall, I could run.

Before the thought had been and gone, her grip on the mane loosened. She slid to the side. Hot breath and the scrape of teeth on her ankle warned her, just in time. She yanked her foot out of range of the snapping jaws, and lost her precarious balance. Making an instinctive grab for the mane with her right hand, she dropped the knife.

Her kidnapper growled and tightened his grip on her stomach and she gasped for her voice.

“Put me down!”

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that. I either kill you or take you with me.” The sparkling black blade of his laughter cut deep into her soul.

Accelerating faster and faster, they wove in and out of the treacherous rocks in a mad, blurring rush up the side of the valley. If she fell off now and hit a rock, she’d be road-kill. She anchored both hands firmly in the mane and leaned back into the solid chest of her attacker.

They raced on, licks of green fire lighting up the hill behind them. A deep maw of black within purple mist formed ahead, transforming the familiar landscape into a horror. The knowledge of where they headed slammed inside her brain.

Trina’s heart sped into a sharp staccato.

Words of denial formed in her constricted throat, gone long before she had a chance to know what they were.

Don’t make me go.

They rocketed to the top of the valley, the piranha hounds schooling tightly around them as they raced to the looming mouth of the portal. Steely muscles bunched and flexed under her. Launching into the air, they flew into the mix of fog and darkness encased in the sound of her scream.

That’s it, that’s the end of chapter one. Leave a comment and let me know how you liked it then put The Dark Huntsman on your Goodreads TBR shelf HERESubscribe to my new release only mailing list to find out when The Dark Huntsman is released, and then get ready for the book. It should be out in October, and of course I’ll be announcing it here and on Twitter and Facebook. How could I resist trumpeting it to the skies?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fae, fairy tales, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

The Dark Huntsman Cover Reveal and e-book Giveaway

Thursdays Bite

It’s here! The Dark Huntsman Cover Reveal

I’m happy dancing with my new cover for my spicy, fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, book one in my twisted fairy tale series, Tales of the Black Court and to celebrate I am giving away ten e-copies of the book. You can enter below by clicking on the Rafflecopter link, or  by leaving a comment on this post, or  Subscribe to my new release only mailing list. And here it is, the cover we’ve been waiting for!

the dark huntsman by jessica aspen

Isn’t it sexy! I want to thank Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs for working so hard on this cover. And let me tell you, this was not easy! We went through several design choices. Kari was super patient and had a sunny attitude with each one (although I’m sure her husband got an earful!).

And here is what my very first print book will look like from Abracadabra Publishing:

the dark huntsman by jessica aspen

And, since I know you can’t read the print on the screen, here is the blurb:

An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch, tangled together in a tale of Snow White…

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan, is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in her new twisted fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court…

Click HERE to read an excerpt from chapter one.

Want more chances to win The Dark Huntsman in e-book? Hop by these spots on my cover tour and the Rafflecopter link will be there too. You can tweet, FB and ENTER daily between now and September 24th. And don’t forget, you can enter simply by leaving a comment today on this post or subscribing to my New RELEASE email list HERE.

Friday 13th, Lynn Cahoon

Monday 16th, Joan Leacott

Tuesday 17th, ML Guida

Wednesday 18th, Gloria Richard

September 20th, Selena Laurence

The Dark Huntsman:  A fantasy romance of the Black Court 

Author Name: Jessica Aspen 

Name of series and book number in series: Book one, Tales of the Black Court 

Genres: Spicy, Fantasy Romance, Twisted Fairy Tales 

Publisher: Abacadabra Publishing 

Release date: October 2013 

ISBN e-copy: 978-0-9899558-0-5 

Word Count: 88,000 words 

Formats available: kindle, epub, pdf, paperback 

Cover Artist: Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs  www.covertocoverdesigns.com

Enter HERE for the Rafflecopter  contest and TEN e-copies of The Dark Huntsman.

And it’s Teaser Thursday! So here is another bite of The Dark Huntsman. You can find last week’s teaser HERE.

Trina raced out the door, forgetting again about the broken bottom porch step. The rotting wood gave under her foot. She hit hard on her hands and knees. The heavy duffle bag swung down and slammed into her arm, tipping open, the sacred ritual tools scattering into the dirt.

Her throat swelled tight. She swallowed back forbidden tears, sat up, and brushed off the tiny rocks embedded in her flesh.

“Damn it!”

She didn’t have time for this.

Scrambling around in the dirt and weeds, she grabbed the precious tools, tossing them like discarded toys into the duffle. Why hadn’t the Goddess Gifted her with time manipulation? Then she wouldn’t have to worry about all this crap.

Ignoring the gorgeous dusty golds and ambers of fall in rural Wyoming, she hauled the loaded duffle up the rapidly darkening hill. Something was coming to the peaceful valley. Cassie had dreamed it, and even if her dreams were subject to interpretation the meaning had been clear. Tonight at sunset, the queen’s dog would descend.

Whatever the hell “queen’s dog” meant.

Sometimes it took more talent than a whole family of witches to figure out the symbolism of Cassie’s visions. Whatever creature the Faerie Queen sent tonight didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was that the last of her family was safe, speeding away in the ancient avocado van.

Doubt quivered low in her belly. The trap spell required more knowledge and power than she possessed, but she had to try. She didn’t know if they’d have another opportunity to grab one of the queen’s scouts before the reinforcements arrived. It was all up to her. They needed information and they needed it soon, before they ran out of places to run.

She reached the point where the rocks began near the old cottonwood at the entrance to the sage labyrinth. An exact eighteen feet across, the sacred three-times-three-times-three, and barely hitting two and-a-half feet tall, it had taken much of her green talent to get it to grow into the classic winding spiral walk used for meditation and spells. No longer the place where she and her cousins had come for spiritual practice, now the stubby double spiral of green and its small center circle would have to change gears from sacred meditation spot to the place she made her stand.

Trina swallowed her fear and reluctance down deep in her gut, dumped her duffle, and stripped off her clothes. A hard gust of the ever-present Wyoming wind shook her.  The newly bared skin of her belly shivered and dread trailed chilly fingers down her spine.

She caught herself checking over her shoulder, finding nothing but the empty landscape. If there were any other way to do this besides bare-assed-naked, she would. But cotton was a downer, it dampened magical fields almost as much as wool. And tonight she had to be unfettered, able to draw as much power as she possibly could. She would need it all.

As soon as the goblin, halfling, or whatever, was in her trap, her clothes could go back on. Then she’d tackle the interrogation and be gone before the big guns arrived. Trolls, ogres, a horde of goblins, no, she’d be long gone before any of those arrived to do the actual killing.

She hoped.

Trying not to rush her steps, the wind lashing dirt against her bare skin, she walked the perimeter of the small labyrinth heading sunwise.

North, East, South, West. She set candles into lanterns at the four corners and lit each one with a prayer to Danu. With each step, apprehension uncoiled in her stomach, radiating out and shaking her hands until it was near impossible for her to light the last candle.

She shoved her anxiety back into her aching stomach and pulled her white handled athame out of the duffle. Breathing deep, she moved the ritual knife, sharp double-blade point up, between her breasts. Energy skidded across her skin. Small hairs on her body rose and her nipples puckered tight.

Time to begin.

Earth magic throbbing under her feet, Trina took the first step into the labyrinth to walk the outer circle and set the wards. Her Gift opened wide. The darkening valley glowed magical colors as the earth’s swirling energies, the soft green of growth and the rich brown of decay, flowed up her legs and into her solar plexus.

She used her body, her anger, and her fear. Anger at the Faery Queen for the constant harassment and extermination of her family and her tribe. Fear of what came next, what might be riding on the coattails of the sunset.

Pulsing with power, she paced deeper and deeper into the labyrinth, static lifting her long black hair into a crackling wild nimbus. She pulled and twisted the vibrant orange and red of her anxiety into the alchemy of the earth’s brown and green energy, weaving them together into an invisible net.

Each measured step layered power into the fabric of her spell. Each movement of the athame directed the energy where it needed to go. Just as darkness dipped its toes into the valley, she turned the last curve into the double spiral’s center.

Her rage and fear coalesced into the final strands of the spell leaving her shaking and exhausted as the last of the afterglow faded from the sky, a stunning show of deep purple on grey. A sonorous quiet descended. No birds, no coyotes. Just the wind sending small trails of skittering leaves through the labyrinth. Prickles of anticipation trembled on her bare spine.

It would be here soon. It was coming fast. And it was coming for her.

Ready for more? Tune in next Thursday, and meanwhile add The Dark Huntsman to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

12 Comments

Filed under Fae, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

Teaser: The Dark Huntsman

Thursdays Bite

a sample bite blog

It’s almost time! I have my cover for my brand new spicy, fantasy romance: The Dark Huntsman, and will be setting up my cover reveal blog tour ASAP. But I know you can’t wait! So I’ve decided to do Teaser Thursdays for the month of September. Here’s the opening to chapter one:

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

release date: October 2013

Sudden light burned into Logan’s face and his eyes flinched shut. He forced his shaking arm up and hid behind it as he tried to remember where he was. Cold seeped into his aching body from the uneven stone floor as he stayed under his arm and hid from the torchlight, staggered at the realization that he was alive. Weak, wobbly, and defenseless. But alive.

A heavy hobnailed boot kicked him in the side. “Here ‘e is sir.”

He groaned and curled into a ball, peering up through long matted and tangled hair at a heavyset chuckling troll with only one working eye. “I got ‘im out of the hole yesterday, but ‘e’s still not in good shape.” Another rusty laugh came from the troll. “But I guess that’s to be expected after fifteen year’n the hole.”

Fifteen years. Had it been so long?

Logan barely heard the troll’s dissertation on oubliettes, prisoners, and rates of death. Had he been in hibernieth, the Elvetian form of stasis, for fifteen years? What had happened to his friends and family? What had happened to the prince between now and the day their world had collapsed? The day he’d been stuffed into his tiny damp prison?

He pushed up on burning arms, collapsing in a panting heap. The troll laughed and kicked him again. Logan lay on the hard stone mentally apologizing to his clan and liege for his weaknesses. He had no strength to face whatever death was to come. His fate was sealed.

“Is this the best you could do?” A sharp male voice cut into Logan’s ears, too used to the sound of silence. “He doesn’t even look like a lord, let an alone the murderous Huntsman. The queen thinks he’s a fricking miracle worker.”

“Nope. No way.” Another chuckle wheezed out. “If you send me down a healer, might be we could get ‘im fixed up by afternoon, good as new. Then the queen can do with ‘im as she likes.”

“Hmph” came from beyond the glare of the torches. Then a sigh. “All right. I’ll send someone. Fix him up.” The voice curled in disgust. “And be sure to wash him. He reeks.”

“Yes sir.” The troll dragged Logan across the floor by one arm. He hummed a tuneless something that screeched into Logan’s ears but couldn’t cover the sound of Logan’s shoulder joint popping out of place.

Pain ripped through him. He struggled to stay conscious and ignore the excruciating messages shrieking in his arm from being hauled like a sack of grain along the rough floor. The troll dropped him on the stones, paused and opened an iron bound door. Logan tried to make his stiff muscles work, managing only to scrape and bang his limbs on the doorframe as the troll seized him and shoved him into the cell. He landed hard, his face grinding into the slimy stones. Curling instinctively into a ball, he managed to protect his gut from the last hard kick of the troll’s boot landing on his dislocated shoulder. His lungs seized up, his vision went black, and his head exploded into bright white stars.

The cell door clanged shut.

He sucked in slow aching breaths as the heavy footsteps receded down the corridor and reminded himself that he’d be out soon. And then he’d face the queen.

Fifteen years in this hell hole and the bitch thought he’d bow to her wishes.

He worked at unclenching his muscles. First his fists, then his jaw. Then each sore and aching muscle until he could sit up, his left arm hanging at an awkward angle. He guessed he wasn’t as ready to die as he’d thought. His body might be in terrible shape, but his mind was still sharp. He’d do what he had to do. Kill, cheat, steal. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t crossed lines before. But this time…

This time he would take down the Faerie Queen of the Black Court. No matter the price he paid. He reached up with his right arm, got a good grip on his left triceps and pulled. The shoulder ground and popped back into place, and Logan passed out from the pain.

Curious? Want more? The Dark Huntsman will be out October 2013. Please sign up for my new release email blast to find out first and to receive details of future sales and review opportunities. Subscribe to my new release only mailing list 

The Dark Huntsman, Book one: Tales of the Black Court

An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch tangled in a tale of Snow White…

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Ready for more? Click HERE for teaser #2 and HERE for teaser #3.

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in my month long drawing to win an e-review copy, so let me know how much you’re looking forward to more twisted fairy tales and The Tales of the Black Court and enter to win! (As with all of my contests you must be over eighteen to enter.)

Check back here for more details on The Dark Huntsman. And wait! There’s more! We have winners from last weeks Labor Day Goldi and the Bear Review Giveaway. Congratulations Sherry Issac, Elaine Cougler, and Sharon Clare! Everyone’s a winner today and I’ll be sending you all e-copies of Goldi and the Bear. 

8 Comments

Filed under Fae, fairy tales, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

Finding Time with author Lynn Cahoon

Thursdays Bite

I first met Lynn Cahoon through my Gaim Goal Setting Group and while we’ve never actually met in person I feel like I know her very well. We’ve shared our ups and downs in life and in publishing over the last three years and my goal setting internet friends are some of the people I make sure I stay in touch with during  life’s chaos. From a small band of totally unpublished authors our group now has a preponderance of published authors and one of the most prolific is Lynn. How she finds the time and the energy to do all she does is a mystery to me, but I sit back in awe at all she’s accomplished over the last few years. Please welcome multi-published and multi-genre author, Lynn Cahoon.

≈≈≈

I’ve been approached by several people who, after finding out I’m a writer, express their own dreams. They want to write or sing or (fill in the blank here). But right now isn’t a great time for them to strike out on their own. Or try something new.

I wonder when the right time would be.

I used to feel the same way, someday, when things settled down, I would write the great American novel. Then I found out that for some of us, someday never comes. I’m not going all pity party for Lynn here. But having cancer really slapped me in the face and made me realize that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.

What would you do if you couldn’t fail?

Failure isn’t a bad thing. It teaches us lessons. Especially people like me who need to experience something to learn it. Writers fail all the time. We fail to snag the agent. We fail to get a request from our pitch.  We fail to win the attention of an editor from a partial.  But sometimes we win.  And those are the good days.

I’ve said before that playing the writer game is like being hooked on crack. Especially after you earn some success, you want more.  Faster responses, more yes’s, and bigger wins.  And the rejections get bigger too. But it’s the work you do when no one’s looking. The day to day word count or the hours of edits to complete a project. That’s where the true magic in writing lies.  In the stuff that’s not sexy. In the days we aren’t hanging out at conferences with other writers, agents, editors, or even, cover models. We work on a sentence or a page and after we’re done, we do it again.

Over and over.

We create something out of thin air and when we’re done, we have a story. That’s the magic.

But the magic only works when we put in the elbow grease.  And treat the process with respect.

So today is your challenge. What are you going to do today to take a step toward your dream?  I’ve got my list, what’s on yours?

a member of the council by lynn cahoonA Member of the Council, Book 1 of The Council Series. 

A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world. 

Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it. But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.

Ty Wallace loves his life. How could he not? He’s a powerful human lawyer by day and the Magic Council’s rogue witch hunter by night. But after he agrees to substitute on his secretary’s dart team, all hell breaks loose. Now Ty has to help Parris admit who she is before her long-lost relatives kill her.

e -Book http://www.amazon.com/A-Member-Council-ebook/dp/B00A262YW4

Goodreads –http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5857424.Lynn_Cahoon

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon

Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor

Website – http://lynncahoon.wordpress.com/

Amazon author page – http://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cahoon/e/B0082PWOAO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Lyrical press – http://lyricalpress.com/a-member-of-the-council/

lynn cahoon authorBIO – Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters, modern cowboys, or hot doctors, sexy in scrubs. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.

20 Comments

Filed under channeling success, facing failure, guest post, Thursdays Bite, witches