Newsletter

Sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive discounts and freebies

Teaser: The Priestess and the Dragon

Just a few days left until The Priestess and the Dragon is unleashed! Check out the first chapter below. And also check out information about how to win a Signed Paperback copy!

Chapter One:

SThe Priestess and The Dragon - E-bookweat rolled down her neck, slid down her spine and pooled at the basin of her lower back. Suzume resisted the urge to itch a tickle near her nose, lest she smear the white paint that adorned her face. The high priestess chanted in a sonorous voice and the procession moved forward a half step. Suzume sighed and lowered her head. The bells hanging from the decorative pins in her hair jingled as she did so. The second to the high priestess whipped her head around, somehow hearing the insignificant sound beneath the high priestess’ chanting. The second glared at Suzume, who returned the look with a half-smile and a tilt of her head, which jangled the bells further. The pinging sound felt like a declaration. I did not choose this life and I will not obey your rules.

The second pursed her lips as she glared at Suzume. She would not dare interrupt the ceremony to chastise Suzume. But if looks could kill, Suzume would be dead three times over. She would most likely get a tongue-lashing when they were alone again. If she had learned anything since coming to the temple, it was that the Maidens of the Mountain took their ceremonies seriously.

The procession moved forward another half step and the second turned back to the head priestess. Suzume sighed as she inched towards the temple. What she wouldn’t give to rip this constricting robe and sash off. I would trade all my father’s—no, the emperor, as I must now call him—I would give up all his gold and the power of the Eight to be free of this robe!

True, she was no stranger to fine garments. Indeed, she had often donned fine silks, she had been served by ladies from the noblest families and had men fall in love with her at least once a week. That was until her mother had ruined everything. You couldn’t tell from the bitter chill rolling off the mountain peaks, but at the White Palace, the cherry blossoms would be blooming. She should be viewing the cherry blossoms with General Tsubaki, her onetime intended, and having courtiers slipping her poetic love notes. He was the perfect match, powerful and old enough not to notice when I flirted with the younger lords. She sighed again.

The second spun around, breaking rank, and said with a hiss, “Silence.”

The young priestesses that were in three lines behind her giggled. The second glowered past Suzume towards them and the giggling died away, leaving only the sound of the high priestess, who continued to chant without breaking stride. When the second turned around, Suzume rolled her eyes. The procession moved another half step.

Suzume’s thoughts returned to her own lamentable fate. When she had imagined her wedding day, it was not like this. Instead of marrying General Tsubaki as was her right and his honor, she was to become an unwilling bride of the mountain god. Which was a romanticized way of saying she had been exiled to a life of a priestess. As the emperor’s trueborn daughter, she was born of divinity and as such she could not be simply married off. Her father insisted on adding insult to injury.

They approached a group of red torii arches. Before she passed beneath the first one, the wind picked up and jangled the bells in her hair, pushing against her as if trying to keep her from entering. She hesitated for a moment. She felt a tingle along her fingertips, a slight burn as if they had come too close to a flame. The second saw her dawdling and jerked her head to the side, indicating she should cross the barrier. It’s just a gateway. She crossed the threshold, and as she did, a prickling sensation ran up and down her arms. She pressed against an invisible barrier, as if the archway wanted to keep her back. She stumbled through and nearly lost her balance. She overcorrected and heard the priestesses behind her laughing, thinking she had lost her balance.

When she looked to them to see if they experienced the same phenomenon, they passed through without resistance. At least the wind had dried the sweat that was surely streaking the white paint on her neck. She chanced a glance to her side; beyond the red columns of the arch the pathway had a sheer drop. And in the distance she could see the mountain range shrouded in clouds. The pathway leading up to the shrine was carved from the mountain, one side a flat mountain face with a few sporadic plants growing in the cracks. The shrine was wedged into a cave; four columns supported the front facade, and beyond the veranda, the latticework doors had been pulled open. She had come a long way from the White Palace to this desolate mountain temple. Suzume suppressed another sigh, lest the second’s scowl grow deeper. Let’s get this over with, she thought.

After what felt like hours, but was closer to a few minutes, they passed beneath the last of the red arches and the house of the God of the Mountain lay before them. The wood on the front had been carved with a scene depicting the mountain range. Above the mountains, the god sat upon a cloud, and with an outstretched hand he brought rain to the needy farmers down at the bottom.

The high priestess stopped the procession. She finished her chant with one last echoing note that bounced off the surrounding mountains, and the following silence was more defined. The wind howled ominously. Suzume’s skin itched and burned. She fought the urge to rub her palms against her flesh to assuage her affliction; she wanted to maintain at least the illusion of respectability. The head priestess and all the other shrine maidens bowed in unison. Suzume, distracted by her fevered skin, did not follow but instead stared into the inner sanctum of the god. A pedestal was the room’s only adornment and upon the white pillow was an obsidian stone.

“Bow, you ungrateful girl,” the high priestess scolded.

Suzume did so with reluctance. Her skin trembled and twitched like a horse trying to shake off a fly. She could not remove her eyes from the stone. It seemed familiar, as if she had seen it before. As she knelt, she lost sight of it. She lowered her head in feigned obedience. However, a sensation began to stir in her gut; she felt like she might retch. I cannot do that, not now, not here. She glanced up once more, trying to regain control of her body.

The high priestess approached the shrine while swinging a brass bowl attached to four chains, with a stick of incense in it. The white smoke swirled around her and trailed after her as she approached the pedestal.

The high priestess lit a few incense sticks that were in holders on either side of the pedestal. She knelt down with her head bowed low to the ground as the room filled with the pungent smoke. The smoke tickled Suzume’s nose. She wiggled it back and forth, the churning feeling in her gut creeping up to the back of her throat. It felt as if there were an inferno burning inside her.

“God of the Mountain, bringer of the rain, great master who parted the lands from the sea, please accept this bride as yours.” She clapped her hands together, finishing the prayer. She rose up onto the balls of her feet and turned to face the group without rising from a kneeling position. She motioned for Suzume to come forward.

She rose on shaking limbs. Only her mere stubbornness kept her moving. As she crossed the threshold, a sensation like a punch to the gut stopped her in her tracks. Whatever was inside her was coming out, now. She stopped, afraid to move for fear her very skin would melt from her bones if she went too near. Is this a part of the ceremony? If so, I refuse to be a part of it.

The high priestess frowned and once more beckoned for her to come forward with a sharp impatient movement.

Suzume shook her head and set the bells jangling. They echoed across the room and seemed to reverberate tenfold, rattling around inside her skull.

“You cannot turn back now, you will anger the god,” the second snarled, now standing beside her with a rough grip of Suzume’s elbow.

The second forced Suzume forward; then Suzume’s knees buckled beneath her. Her stomach heaved and she feared she would empty its contents in front of everyone. She grabbed her abdomen in a last effort to hold back, but something bubbled up from inside her, the burning receded from her arms and pooled in her stomach before traveling up and out of her mouth. Bright red light burst from her lips and shot out like a current that sparked and undulated as it made a direct trajectory for the pedestal and collided with the obsidian stone.

For a moment the stone vibrated, and then it began to rock back and forth on its stand. Finally it rolled and began to ricochet around the pedestal, colliding with the raised edges of the stand. Then the pedestal exploded in a shower of splintered wood. The force of the explosion threw the high priestess backwards. Suzume fell to the ground just in time to avoid a deadly piece of wood from piercing her heart.

Fragments of wood rained down on her as she covered her head with her hands. When the raining debris ceased, she looked up again. Smoke filled the chamber—she could not tell if it was just the incense or from whatever had caused the explosion. The burning sensation had left her body, but Suzume felt a new tingling warm sensation that flooded her skin like a warning bell. She could not get up, however; it felt as if an invisible hand held her down, nearly forcing the air from her body.

“High Priestess!” the second shouted somewhere in the smoke and debris. The other maidens were chattering in fear.

“I am here, and unharmed,” the high priestess said. The smoke cleared and revealed her to be lying on the ground. She sat up and bits of wood fell off of her. She looked at Suzume, her eyes wide. “What did you do?” she asked.

Before Suzume had even the chance to answer, a hollow maniacal laughter filtered through the chamber. The head priestess’ mouth dropped open as she turned her head back to where the pedestal had been. The smoke rolled away and a coiled serpentine body covered in opalescent scales dominated the room. The creature’s muzzled face looked down upon Suzume, his long whiskers brushing against the bells on her hair pieces.

“God of the Mountain and bringer of the rain, I presume?” Suzume asked.

The creature smirked, revealing rows of dagger-sharp teeth. “You awoke me?” His voice echoed and filled the room with thunder.

Had she been a cautious woman, she would have listened to the underlying threat in the creature’s stature and his words. But Suzume prided herself on the fact that she did not cower before anyone, even the God of the Mountain.

“And if I did?” she asked.

The beast exhaled; his breath, as cold as winter, froze her skin until that warm tingling sensation defrosted her.

“God of the Mountain,” the high priestess gasped.

He turned his large head towards her and looked her up and down and said, “Your voice has been in my dreams.”

Tears gathered in the old woman’s eyes. “Thank you, lord, it is a great honor. I always hoped you heard my fervent prayers. I have dedicated my life to your service. Please tell us, why now have you—”

“Silence, you speak too much, human. I did not awaken to hear your prattling. You should stick to your prayers and songs, they are much easier upon the ears.” He growled and the high priestess fell onto her knees and laid her face to the ground.

“My apologies—” she started to say, but he growled and she silenced herself.

The god turned back to Suzume. “I can sense little spiritual power in you, yet you have undone the seal,” he said while regarding Suzume. He tilted his head to the side. The shrine maidens and high priestess had moved out of the way of the god’s coiling body and were huddled outside the shrine.

She looked at them and back at the god. How had she unleashed him? As far as she could tell, it had been an accident, an involuntary action. Regardless of the how, she did not want to admit her ignorance in front of the other shrine maidens.

“It was simple, the seal was weak,” Suzume lied.

He tilted his head and barked a thundering laugh that shook the building down to its foundation. He took a few steps back and then with a puff of smoke transformed. When the smoke cleared, a young man stood in his place. A naked young man. His sleek black hair hung loose about his shoulders in an almost obscene way.

Suzume admired his lean physique and let her eyes trace his body downward. Before she could get too far, however, the high priestess forced Suzume’s head down so she could not admire the god’s other masculine assets. Suzume sighed; if this is how she was expected to act for the rest of her life, then she was not going to like living here at all.

The god approached her and loomed over her. “You are my newest servant?”

She bristled at the servant distinction and was preparing to correct his misconception when the high priestess chose that moment to interrupt.

“She is your newest tribute, my lord, your pure bride.”

He raked Suzume up and down and she met his gaze with an out-jutted chin and only took a quick peek at his manhood. Not bad, she thought. He laughed again.

“I don’t know how pure she is.”

Suzume glared at him. How dare he insinuate she was anything but chaste! She had been attempting to get a sneak peek at his godly assets but nothing more than that. It didn’t make her impure to be curious.

“My lord!” the priestess proclaimed. He turned to her and looked her up and down.

“You keep calling me that, but I am not your mountain god. I am a dragon, and before I was trapped inside that stone, I ruled this realm. And you”—he knelt before Suzume. Now she did avert her gaze; she did not need to be that familiar with his manhood—”shall help me exact my revenge.”

 

Pre-order for 99¢

Kindle, Nook, Googleplay, Kobo & iBooks

Comment with your confirmation for a chance to win a Signed Paperback Copy!

 

Review: Succubus and the Crown By Daniel David Garcia

814dosXXlKLLast week, I did a review for book one of the Succubus in a Red Dress. I hope you’ve downloaded a copy, because why not it’s free and it’s awesome! I’ll wait while you get your copy…

 

Anyway, I’m going to try and limit spoilers here because you definitely need to read The Succubus in a Red Dress before reading Succubus and the Crown. But I’ll keep this as vague as possible. We rejoin Delilah who do to (redacted) reasons has become the Succubus Queen of New York city. As usual our reluctant heroine is not pleased with her current circumstances especially when more succubus start trickling into the city and looking for her protection. While she’s trying to handle her new kingdom, her new boyfriend Ken and her are having some domestic issues, mostly involving his mother wanting her dead. As you can imagine hilarity ensues.

 

This was a wonderful follow up to the sassy tone of The Succubus in a Red dress and I devoured it over a weekend. It was one of those reads you could not put down. I enjoyed it immensely! We get a lot more action in this one which had me reminiscing about all the Buffy the Vampire I watched growing up. As before, I loved this book but especially Delilah. We need more strong females in fantasy, don’t you agree?

 

 

Coming up next, the Succubus in a Black Hat

 

amazon-icon kobo-icon

Interview with Kara Jorgensen

As you may have noticed from my reviews of the Earl of Brass and the Winter Garden, I’m a fan of Kara Jorgensen’s work. She was gracious enough to talk to me about her books, and I managed to reign in my fangirling. We talked about lots of topics from strong women to inspiration and research. This is a great interview, read more below.

N: I’m gonna dive right in, as you know I’m in love with your characters. Was there any real life inspiration for your characters, if not what is your character creating process?

 

K: For a lot of my characters, there is a “real life” inspiration for that character even if it’s only physically. Eilian, for example, is a combination of a lot of characters. He was inspired by Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia, Edward from Full Metal Alchemist, and a little Nathan Fillion thrown in for good measure. Adam physically is modeled after Errol Flynn if he was a Victorian dandy. Other characters, like Hadley or Immanuel gelled as I wrote. I had a vague understanding of who they are (usually beginning with their occupation and a bit of back story), and from there, they begin to grow as I write. I typically don’t know my characters inside and out when I start writing but feel them out as new situations bring out different aspects of their characters.

N: So I have to say, I love your strong female characters. All of your women characters are smart, and passionate and just plain badass. Do you have any strong female characters in fiction that you look up to?

 

K: I must admit that strong women in fiction has been lacking in my reading. Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, and Mrs. Weasley will always be leading my pack of strong women, especially from my early reading, but thinking on it now, I’m pretty surprised to find that I don’t remember reading about many strong women. Medea from Euripides’ play is another badass woman I definitely love from literature, but I think most of my inspiration actually comes from real women. Often my characters come from independent, rebellious women from the past like Mary Shelley and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, cross-dressing women who went to war, subversive women, suffragettes who threw bricks through windows and fought police during protests. I think we’ve come a long way in fiction, but there’s more work to do in terms of the representation of strong characters who are women, different ethnicities and cultures, and different sexualities and genders.

N: I have to commend you on your realistic portrayal of falling in love in your novels. From Hadley to Eilian and Immanuel and Adam your characters fall in love in such a realistic way. Have you written a lot of romance or are you just naturally talented?

 

K: I have to say thank you for thinking my romances are realistic! That is one aspect of my writing that I am always worried about. Most of my stories have a romance element as part of a subplot, but I have never written a strictly romance story. I have been in a relationship with the same person for ten years, so my romances tend to be less fire and burning passion and more of a slow-burn with a bit of build-up, though every relationship is different. I don’t know if being in a long-term relationship helps with writing characters who end up in stable relationships, but it’s where I draw my experience from.

N: I love how you tackle LGBT issues in your books. For those that are new to the genre, do you have any recommendations? (Other than your books of course)

 

K: Oh yes. My current reading list has a lot of LGBT fiction in it. For readers who like historical or literary fiction, I would recommend Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith, E. M. Forester’s Maurice, The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice. Most of Anne Rice’s works contain LGBT characters, and they were probably my first exposure to the genre. Some modern fantasy authors I’m currently enjoying are: Laura Lam (Pantomime and Shadow Play), Jordan L. Hawk (Widdershins), K. J. Charles (The Magpie Lord), and Sam Farren (Dragonoak, which I admit I haven’t gotten to yet)

 

N: So what made you decide to write steampunk? Have you always been a fan of the genre?

 

K: I have always been a fan of Victorian fiction and historical fantasy, so steampunk seemed to be a natural progression. As I began reading more steampunk fiction (primarily anthologies and short stories), I found that, while I enjoyed the stories, what I wanted to read wasn’t there. I loved the combination of the Victorian aesthetic with lace and corsets and the complex contraptions that featured in the stories. The genre is wide-open to interpretation, which I love and is probably why I chose to write in it.

N: In addition to above, the detail in your books is amazing from the way Eilian’s bionic arm works to the way society runs. Was there a lot of research involved for your novels?

 

K: Yes, lots and lots of research. It’s one of the best and worst parts of writing historical-fantasy. I tend to lean toward historical realism, so I have quite a few websites and books that I use to look up details about the late-Victorian era that I don’t know off the top of my head. Both of my books also have quite a bit of science in them. Eilian’s bionic arm took A LOT of research and is actually pretty sound scientifically. One of the odd perks of research is knowing way too much about weird subjects, like seals or Christmas crackers.

N: I have to ask, have you seen Full Metal Alchemist? Because I almost swooned when I realized Eilian had a metal arm that moved! (You don’t have to include this in the interview, I’m just curious.)

 

K: Yes! Edward’s mechanical arm was definitely part of the inspiration behind Eilian’s arm. It was that arm combined with modern bionic prostheses and Victorian ones that were operated with springs and looked more like torture devices than limbs.

N: What was the inspiration for the Earl of Brass?

 

K: The original idea for the story began with a daydream I had where I imagined a dirigible crash and what it would be like to go through it, and what if you were injured during it? This led to the opening scenes of The Earl of Brass, but as I started fleshing out the idea, I thought it would be interesting if he lost a limb or some important organ that had to be replaced with a mechanical one. I wanted to stay on the side of realism, and after a bit of research, I eliminated the organ idea and instead came up with the missing arm. This would be how he would become entangled with Hadley, who was a craftswoman and the love-interest. Halfway through writing the story, I really had no idea where it was going. Then, I started reading The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the lost civilization of Billawra formed.

N: The Winter Garden was amazing, the tone is brooding and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Do you have any particular writing method to keep up the tension and danger? Like do you listen to scary music while you write?

 

K: The Winter Garden was my first real attempt at creating a horror-esque work, and one of the things that I think helped a lot was knowing what I covered already and what everyone knew. I had charts and outlines delineating the aforementioned issues, and it helped a lot to figure out where the slack was and where to tighten it. For the mood, I had a Pinterest board filled with dark images that I referenced a lot while writing. I’m a very visual person, so seeing the darkness and using it to build my own visuals helped immensely. I don’t know if it added to the atmosphere, but I also have a Youtube video of thunder and rain, which got me into that dark and stormy night mood.

N: What was the inspiration for your current work in progress?

 

K: My current project, The Earl and the Artificer, which should be out late 2015 or early 2016 was partially inspired by Downton Abbey in the sense that the story revolves around an old manor, but unlike Downton, it’s not your typical Georgian manor. The house has a huge greenhouse attached to it and a mysterious and rather combative uninvited house guest who likes to pop in unannounced and cause chaos. Some of the major themes in the story are: inheritance and what comes with being part of a lineage, freedom, individuality and how to reconcile that with responsibility, and rebirth. Another major piece of inspiration was Ancient Rome’s influence on Britain. There are a lot of Roman tidbits thrown into this book.

 

N: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

 

K: Hopefully lots more stories with Adam, Immanuel, and Emmeline, so more paranormal stories that will probably be filled with libraries, museums, ghosts, revived villains, cults, and mythical creatures. There may be more Eilian and Hadley stories in the future, but for now, I see more with my little trio. Book four, which should be out sometime in 2016, will feature the three of them fighting the forces of darkness again. In between projects, I also hope to post more short stories set in this universe.

 

 About Kara:

Kara Jorgensen is an author of fiction and professional student from New Jersey who will probably die slumped over a Victorian novel. An anachronistic oddball from birth, she has always had an obsession with the Victorian era, especially the 1890s. Midway through a dissection in a college anatomy class, Kara realized her true passion was writing and decided to marry her love of literature and science through science fiction or, more specifically, steampunk. When she is not writing, she is watching period dramas, going to museums, or babying her beloved dogs. Her poems have been featured in Selfish and Literary Orphans.

 

Connect with Kara: 

WebsiteNewsletterFacebookPinterestGoodreadsTwitterAmazon Author Page

 

Cover Reveal: The Priestess and the Dragon

The Priestess and The Dragon - E-bookI cannot believe this day has finally come! When I started writing The Priestess and the Dragon a couple years ago it was just a lark. I’ve loved Japan for as long as I can remember and I just wanted to write an epic fantasy set in pseudo-Japan. Then Suzume took on a life of her own, and things just snowballed from there. The rewrites have be so much fun and I got to add tons of exciting new scenes including scenes from Kaito’s perspective. I added about 30% more content. O.O  October can not come soon enough. I’ll be posting teasers to my Facebook page in the mean time. Be sure to check back.

“Love and revenge don’t end with Death”

Exiled for her mother’s sins, Suzume lives in a remote mountain shrine training to become a priestess. She would give anything to return to her old life at the emperor’s palace. When she accidently awakens a sleeping dragon posing as the mountain god, she thinks he is the answer to all her problems. But she gets more than she bargained for when she unleashes the Dragon, Kaito. He has been sealed away for five hundred years and now he is hungry for revenge. The woman who trapped him may be dead, but he will settle for her reincarnation and he chooses Suzume to join him on his quest for vengeance. What he doesn’t realize is Suzume is that priestess reborn. Now she must find a way to seal the dragon once more before he learns the truth. 

 

Pre-order for 99 cents! 

 

apple-icon barnes-and-noble-icon kobo-icon amazon-icon download (2)

 

 

Review: Succubus in a Red Dress By Daniel David Garcia

I read this 3482742-368-k764705book a while back and thought I had already reviewed it. And while going through my reviews trying to decide what to review next I realized my error. Well now I plan to rectify that! Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to be introducing you to the fabulous world of The Succubus in a Red Dress. To start today, we have this fabulous romp. Delilah is pretty average, she’s struggling to make ends meet in NYC working at a coffee counter for pennies when she discovers some previously unknown powers when she accidentally drains a man and almost kills a man.

Cue her new mentor, Chloe who has conveniently swept into plan and decides to take Delilah under her wing. She teaches her everything there is to no about enchanting men and sucking the life out of them. But our herione is not so keen on her new found powers and openly rejects them.

This book was a fun twist on the classic idea of a Succubus, Delilah is not your a-typical sultry seductress. She is clumsy and awkward and painfully relatable. I think we can all relate to that sense of not knowing what to do with your life and who hasn’t struggle a time or two. It was a quick read, it probably took me a day or two. It was an amazing book, and as if it couldn’t get any better it’s currently FREE on Kindle and Kobo. So Pick up your copy you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

amazon-icon kobo-icon

Review The Winter Garden & The Oxford Holiday by Kara Jorgensen

I love sureal-winter-garden-cover-final-frontpporting Indie Authors, there’s a real sense of community when we all rally together. I was lucky to have Kara as guest at my Kistune Release Party and I was really excited because just the day before I finished this fabulous book in her Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. This is the second book in the series, and as with her Earl of Brass, Ms. Jorgensen’s talent for diverse characters stole the show from the start!

I really enjoyed her first book, Earl of Brass, but fell in love with her writing in The Winter Garden. Throughout the book, there’s this sense of fear that overlays everything. Emmanuel is a German student studying anatomy at Oxford when he saves a girls life by using a family heirloom. Turns out his family deals in alchemy and using what appears to be a philosophers stone. But when he revives her their lives are linked together. Emmaline’s mysterious recovery piques the interest of of those who would use their apparent link, and the two become entangled together, in unexpected ways.

 

Ms. Jorgensen captures so many themes, and does it with such expertise that I could gush about how much I love this book for thousands of word. But I am sure they would all start to run together and I won’t subject you to that. I will give you the best impression I can, but honestly you should just buy the book. Her writing is beautiful and poignant. Starting with Emmanuel, he deals with a lot. He’s damaged and afraid and his feelings just jump off the page. I felt like he was a real person as if this was a story told by a friend beside me. Then there’s Adam his love interest, he’s hidden his homosexuality for his entire life and it takes a lot for him to give in to opening up his heart. You feel the danger of discovery for these two. I never thought too much about homosexuality in the Victorian age but now that I have, I want to read more about it. The romance between the two characters felt natural. There was no pomp, which was so great. I’ve read novels with homosexual relationships as a minor subplot and it always feels like the author is waving a diversity flag for the sake of diversity. These characters breathe real life! With Adam and Emmanuel they just are, and there’s something simple and special about that. I have to say it, I love this couple! Intermixed with these characters you fall in love with is this prevail sense of magic, danger and mystery. It had every element of a story that I just love. An absolute must read!

11889636_10206449882661122_5675883335334578638_n

And once you finish that, pick up the Oxford Holiday. It’s a delightful glimpse into the lives of Emmanuel and Adam after The Winter Garden. It’s a quick read that will sate your craving for more of this couple, because believe me, you will fall in love with them! Not only was it great to see them being their adorable selves, it sets up future conflicts to come introducing new characters and teasing us with brief glimpses of what we can expect in future books. (Yes I’m onto you Kara!) Pick them both up at the same time, because you’ll want to read the short right after.

 

The Winter Garden:

amazon-icon barnes-and-noble-icon

 

 

An Oxford Holiday: 

amazon-icon

 

 

Coming Soon: The Priestess and the Dragon

As I write this, I have just finished the final draft of the Priestess and the Dragon, the first book in the Dragon Saga. When I started out writing this on Wattpad, I never thought it would take on a life of its own. It’s hard to say one book is a favorite over others but I must admit, this is one of my favorites. The story melds so much of what I love, Japanese mythology, action, drama and a dash of humor. I love this book and realizing that very soon I’ll be holding a paperback copy in my hand, I get a little teary eyed. Last Friday Kitsune launched, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the world of Akatsuki. So today I am making a formal declaration about the future of this series, and it’s spin off series Tales of Akatsuki (Japanese inspired retelling of Western Fairy Tales).

Up Next:

The Priestess and the Dragon (Dragon Saga Book 1)

  • Cover reveal: September 4th 2015
  • Official Release: October 17th 2015
  • GoodReads Giveaway  October 10th  – October 16th 2015

The Sea Stone (Dragon Saga Book 2)

  • Tentative Release*: January 2016

Okami: A Little Red Riding Hood Retelling (Book 2 Tales of Akatsuki)

  • Tentative Release*: December 2015

 

*As always dates are subject to change. I will make official announcements as dates solidify.

 

Kitsune Chapter One: Part 2

This is the second part of the Kitsune Chapter One. Read part 1 here. There’s just a few days left until the release!

 

Kitsune Chapter One: Part 2 Kitsune - E-book

Once again in fox form, she flew through the forest undergrowth. She could smell blood in the air; the boar had not been completely unsuccessful. I thought humans of this region knew to stay away from this forest. I wonder what madness drove them in here. She leapt over a fallen tree. It does not concern me, I suppose. Though I would have liked to learn more about that human. He was interesting. She laughed at her own curiosity. That is the first time I’ve ever thought that of a human.

As she ran, she spread out her senses. She had felt nothing since the boar, and then as she approached her destination, she noticed an overhead shadow, which leapt from branch to branch, keeping pace with her. If it was a Yokai, they had cloaked their spiritual energy, making them invisible to her probes. And if it was a Yokai, it also meant they were more powerful than her. She reached a clearing in the woods; the trees circled a grassy area open on all sides. It was a convenient spot to confront her stalker, one where she could escape from if need be.

She transformed back into a woman and said, “Come out, I know you’re there.”

It dropped out of the tree to her right. She tilted her head to look at him, as if she were merely curious and not on the defensive. His tunic and split pants were black and he wore a white mask over his face. The mask had only two dark holes for the eyes, no space for a mouth or nose.

“Can I safely assume you are here to welcome me?” Rin asked.

The messenger did not appear to be amused. “What business do you have in the guardian’s forest?” was his monotone reply.

“I am the Dragon’s messenger.”

The warrior’s hand hovered over his sword. “And what message might the Dragon have for Akio?”

“Are you Akio?” Rin asked, though she already knew the answer.

“No.”

She laughed. “Then I am not inclined to answer your questions, now am I?”

“You saved that human, why? You know I must report this to the guardian.”

She shrugged. How could she explain such a whim when she did not even understand it herself?

“Do you plan on taking me as a prisoner to Akio, then?” She held out her hands as if she expected him to bind them together.

“No, but I will escort you to his palace.”

She waved her hand. “Lead the way, then.”

Rin followed after the warrior. He walked with an upright rigid air that one would expect from Akio’s guard. He did not turn to make sure she followed. Not that it was necessary, he could stop her in an instant if she tried to flee. The guardian’s palace was hidden in the middle of the forest, the entrance guarded by a long rope bridge over a canyon. They crossed the bridge, which swung back and forth. Rin glanced over the edge at the chasm below. Low-hanging clouds blocked the bottom from view. The palace building itself was hidden amongst the trees, some twined with the building, as if it had been here since the dawn of time and the trees merely grew through the structure. The verandas and covered walkways were shaded by the canopies of trees to the point where Rin could not see where the building started and the trees ended.

Once they crossed the bridge, they climbed up a narrow set of stairs, which ended at a double door. There were two guards; both of them had the head of deer and the body of men. They wore armor, painted red, over black gathered pants and tunic. They stared straight forward, ignoring the warrior who had come to fetch Rin. The warrior moved silent as a ghost into the courtyard beyond. It was slated in marble, twisted with black and gold flecks. The roots of a large tree grew in cracks of the marble, like veins. She followed after the warrior, who gave her no instruction but seemed to expect compliance.

They climbed a smaller set of steps into the main building. Here the floors were covered in tatami, bamboo mats, and at the far end of the room on a raised platform sat the forest guardian, Akio. He was a massive creature who dominated the space. He had the head of a boar and instead of hands he had hooves. He wore several layers of bright silk robes. The sleeves draped over his arms and pooled on the ground near his thick meaty thighs. Yokai attended him, all of them animal hybrids like the guards at the door, a few monkeys, and a few more deer women served him platters of dumplings and fish cooked in a thick dark sauce. The warrior who had come to fetch her knelt down before the boar and laid his head down to the ground.

“My lord, I found this Kitsune wandering the forest,” he said in a formal clipped tone.

The boar ate messily; dark sauce dribbled off his snout and onto his bright yellow kimono. He glanced over at Rin like one does a buzzing fly. He had small beady eyes like the creature who had attacked the young lord. But unlike the dumb animal, there was cunning staring back at her.

“You are a messenger of the Dragon,” he said. His voice rumbled and shook his massive gut.

“Is it that obvious?” Rin replied. She could not help but taunt him. Her position as a messenger gave her immunity.

Akio did not seem amused. “Does your master forget that I have forbidden any of his court in my domain?”

“Ah. As the Dragon has often reminded you, your domain is within his kingdom and therefore you are his subject.”

The boar laughed. “You are brash for someone with such a low status.”

He thinks to humiliate me. Well… “That jibe might sting more if it were not coming from a mouth full of food.”

He jumped to his feet, knocking over platters and spilling a jug of sake in the process. Rin grinned, not backing down an inch.

“How dare you insult me in my own palace!” he roared.

“I would chastise you for being rude as well, but I feel it would be a futile effort.”

“You insolent worm. I should have you locked away to rot.”

“And then you would have a real war on your hands,” Rin replied.

The boar narrowed his eyes. “Who are you really?”

“Just the Dragon’s messenger, nothing more.”

“I find that suspect.” He sat back down on his cushion. And then he leaned forward, his hooves folded in front of him.

“The Dragon asks that you attend a feast,” Rin said.

“Does he now? Is this his way of distracting us from his human lover?”

Human lover? She had expected tricks from Akio, but this was too farfetched even for her to imagine. The servants that sat beside him leaned in and whispered to one another, giving her furtive looks. A doe towards the front gave her a slow smile. Rin smiled back, full of honey laced with poison. They cannot possibly know me. I am just being paranoid.

The boar grinned, revealing crooked yellow teeth. “You know about it, I am sure. They say the Dragon has become ensorcelled by a human woman. There are rumors he has even abandoned his palace in favor of dancing to the human’s whims.”

She tried to picture the Dragon with a human. She had spent so much time avoiding him she could not recall where she had last seen him. He leaves from time to time and he’s been known to take human lovers but never for long and never serious. “That’s the problem with rumors, they are often misleading. Don’t you agree?” she said.

The boar shook his head. He waved his hoof and the servants rose as one and filed out of the room. Rin watched them go with a growing sense of dread. She may have bitten off more than she could chew with Akio.

“I have no time for your games. I know the Dragon wants to lure me out of my palace, but I am no fool. You thought to trick me, but you’re not nearly clever enough to play this game.”

“I never intended to enter a game of wits with you. There’s no competition where you are involved.” She examined her pointed nails.

He grinned at her, revealing yellow teeth. Perhaps he missed the insult. “You would have done better to come groveling if you wanted to play a spy, Rin.”

Her mouth dropped open as her stomach sank. How could he possibly guess her motives? She had told no one of her intentions, not even Shin. “You—”

“Yes, I know who you are, and I know you are no mere messenger. You would have been better served to not break my laws as well; I might have let you go otherwise.” He waved his hoof and guards approached from all sides. “Take her prisoner.”

 

Find out what happens next by reading, Kitsune.

Available Friday August 14th at these retailers:

Amazon, Nook, Google Books, iBooks, and Kobo

 

Kitsune Chapter One: Part 1

Kitsune - E-bookKitsune comes out this Friday, and I thought I would share the first chapter here on the blog. Since its kind of long, I’ve broken it up into two sections. Here’s the first excerpt.

 

Kitsune Chapter One: Part 1

The boar was covered in coarse black hair. The giant yellow tusks curved around his snout as he pawed at the ground. The young man stood transfixed in place, staring down the eyes of the beast. Rin watched him, wondering what he would do. From the trembling of his hands, he did not seem to be the type who could defend himself very well. His clothes were tattered and dirt stained but finely made. He must be someone important in the human world. I wonder why he came into this forest.

She did not meddle in human affairs as a matter of principle. They lived such brief uninteresting lives she could not be bothered by them. Then as she stared at the young man, he turned slowly to face her. His dark eyes looked at her and saw her not as a fox, as he should, but as a woman. She could see the spark of recognition, and the confusion, overlaid by his fear. The boar charged and the young man looked for his sword, just out of reach in a bush nearby. Not that it would have mattered either way—no human blade could kill that beast. She should not have cared what happened to him. But as if controlled by some outside force, she pushed the young man out of the way of the churning hooves of the monstrous boar.

The boar roared as he passed, the sheer weight of his body propelling him forward and crashing through the brush. It was a large clumsy beast. It collided with a tree twice as thick as Rin and snapped it in half. It tossed its massive head and focused gleaming yellow eyes on the pair of them. Now I’ve done it. Akio will have my head for interfering. She looked down at the young man as she straddled his waist and he stared up at her in a daze. His eyes glazed over her face and came to rest upon the pair of fox ears on top of her head. No doubt about it now, he knows what I am.

He opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of water. It was rather amusing. She grinned as she jumped off of him.

“We should get out of here; those trees will not hold him back for long.” She jutted a thumb towards the trees that shielded them from the boar’s wrath. The boar tore at bark with his tusks, grunting and snorting as he dug chunks of earth out of the ground. The space in between the branches was too narrow to allow for his massive body to pass. But judging from the growing pile of splinters, they would not remain an obstacle for much longer.

A wild animalistic panic threatened to overcome her. It screamed at her to transform into a fox and hide in the underbrush. She smothered the impulse; for some strange reason she felt she had to help this young man. If Akio wants him this bad, then I cannot let him have this man.

The young lord climbed to his feet, his hands shaking. His open mouth gaped at her ears; then slowly his gaze traveled downward to her foxtail, which she swished back and forth behind her. The boar roared again and the young man tore his gaze away from her and stared terrified back at the beast trying very hard to come and tear them apart.

“Run, my lady, I will defend you,” the human said. He reached for a sword that was not there. So instead he put up his arms to shield her from the boar.

She laughed. She did not mean to, but he had all but wet himself out of fear. How could he hope to protect her when she had to save him first?

“You cannot hope to defeat him,” she replied. “Follow me or die, those are your choices.” She jogged away from the clearing and deeper into the forest, where the undergrowth grew to her thigh and the trees close together. It would be impossible for the boar to follow.

It was foolish to save him, even more foolish to talk to him, but sometimes it was the foolish things that brought the most entertainment.

What I want to know is how he can see me. A human should not be able to see my form without me revealing it to him. Any other Yokai in her position would leave him to the mercy of the boar, but he had piqued her curiosity. He fumbled in the undergrowth as he followed after her, whereas Rin moved about with grace, not so much as bending the grass underfoot. He broke branches and mumbled curses under his breath when his silken robes got caught on a thorny bush and tore a gaping hole. He’ll wake every bloodthirsty Yokai in the forest, stomping around like that. She waited perched on a boulder as he mourned his ruined clothes.

He glanced up to see her watching him, dropped the fabric and continued onward. She flicked her tail and leapt down from the boulder, running ahead, checking to make sure there were no more nasty surprises waiting for them in the shadows. She spread out her senses, searching for other Yokai, and though she sensed others in the forest, none were close by. That’s a relief, at least.

She led him through the twisted pathways through the forest known only to forest inhabitants. She felt the boar waiting on the edges of the forest, where the woods were sparse. He roared again but too far away to be any danger now. He’ll be returning to his master, I suspect. She glanced over her shoulder to check on the young man, and found him bent over gasping for breath. I forget how fragile these humans can be. She waited for him to regain his composure. She wanted to question him further, but she had broken enough laws just by saving him. She dared not incriminate herself further, not in Akio’s realm. She looked away from him lest he catch her staring and take it upon himself to ask his own questions. She had seen the sidelong looks he gave her, and she knew he had questions of his own.

When he stood upright once more, she said, “Keep going this way and you’ll be outside the forest.” She pointed to a narrow animal track that twisted around the trees and led out onto a human road. He looked up at her, then past her to the path. When his eyes were off her, she cloaked herself. When he looked up again, he would see the forest behind her.

“Thank—” he started to say. He swiveled his head back and forth. He scratched his head as his eyes skimmed over her, unseeing. She could see the question in his eyes, wondering what she was, just as she was wondering why he could see her. After a few moments, he shrugged and turned to walk away. She watched him amble down the pathway she had indicated. He took a few steps before stopping to check for her over his shoulder. A part of her wanted to chase after him, but she knew no good could come of that. They lived in separate worlds. How he could see her would remain a mystery. After searching for her to no avail, he continued on the path and disappeared around the bend. She waited until he was out of sight before heading back into the forest.

 

 

Part 2 coming soon!

Goodreads Giveaway: Kitsune Win One of Ten Signed Copies

I’m excited to announce I am giving away TEN signed copies of Kitsune via a Goodreads giveaway. I love giving away books and Goodreads makes it easy to do. This is one of several giveaways. (more information on that coming soon) But for now, be sure to head over to Goodreads and add your name into the list. When you’re there be sure to friend or become a fan while you’re there.

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Kitsune by Nicolette Andrews

Kitsune

by Nicolette Andrews

Giveaway ends August 14, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5 other subscribers

About the Author

A little about myself: I am a wife and a mother of two. I write fantasy with romantic subplots. I adore a good book, a quiet place to read and other generic things you hear writers say all the time. I love when people try to speculate on my work and feedback is welcome and appreciated.
READ MORE

Goodreads

Follow me on Twitter