We all know Halloween is a time for ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and other things that go bump in the night. But it’s also a good time to curl up with a good book, and since I have a whole list of Paranormal Romances to offer, I thought I’d put ’em on sale for everyone! It’s not exactly candy, but hey, Trick or Treat! :P
So, after an admittedly long silence on this blog, I finally have something to post! But right before I get to that, let me throw out an apology over how long it’s been since I’ve swung by here to say more than a word or two on anything. Life’s been hectic on the downside lately, and things haven’t exactly panned out the way I would’ve liked for them to go in some places. This includes my progress on writing Cast Into Shadow, which is coming along, but it’s going more slowly than preferred.
But the good news is that I finally have an excerpt to share! At first, I thought it would be fine just to post this excerpt as text here, but then I realized the formatting is off and it’s kind of hard to read. So instead, I decided to post a downloadable PDF file! This will require adobe acrobat, but at least your eyes won’t cross! Haha!
I hope you enjoy, and as always, the following is still considered a work in progress that’s subject to change before the book’s final release! :)
Hi guys! I hope everyone’s summer is going well, and that you’re perhaps lounging by the beach, or somewhere equally appealing, with a good book in hand enjoying an escape into another world. I also hope whatever book you’re reading isn’t trashy because, well, no one wants a trashy book. It could ruin the reading process and break glass when you throw that eyesore of a story out the window.
And nobody wants to fix a broken window, am I right? I mean a trashy book just isn’t worth it.
Still, as I wrote those last few sentences, I wonder just what, precisely, people thought of when I said “trashy”. I mean, what’s the basic definition of trashy anyway? Let me see … ah! Here it is!
(especially of items of popular culture) of poor quality.
“trashy novels and formulaic movies”
I find it humorous that google’s definition gives an example of “trashy novels” here. Still, this definition of the word trashy is basic, and doesn’t fully answer the question of what people may have thought when I mentioned the word. I mean, we can define a word all we want, but that definition will take on a new perspective when personal opinions get involved.
For example, my idea of a trashy novel is one that just doesn’t quite satisfy. Perhaps it’s not well written, the characterizations are badly managed, the plot is full of holes big enough to encompass the state of Alaska, and/or the plot devices are contrived and nonsensical. These things, to me, make a story of poor quality as the definition noted above implies. You just don’t read these stories without complaining over every little aspect and perhaps wondering what the author was thinking when writing it.
But that’s my idea of a trashy book. This perspective may also be shared with several other people, however, 7 times out of 10, someone seeing the word trashy in relation to literature will automatically think of one genre before any other; Romance.
Despite being a billion-dollar-industry, the word “trashy” has been used in relation to stories written for this genre since, well, long before I was born. Even one of the biggest community websites for romance novels has the word Trashy in its name (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books). This isn’t meant as a disparagement by the chicks who run the website, but as stated, romance novels have been called trashy all across the board so often that us fans have come to employ it in our own vernacular as a playful way of suggesting sure, we’re all reading trash, and we enjoy it!
Still and yet, there are plenty of instances where this is meant as a disparagement, particularly when it comes from people who’ve never read a romance, or only read one romance and think every story is just like it. Even some romance readers call their books of choice trash because they’re ashamed and consider reading romance as being a guilty pleasure.
Recently, I saw a post on tumblr where someone was trying to articulate a request for book recommendations, and initially, they couldn’t quite bring themselves to admit that romance novels were their focus of interest. They started out by saying they’d been reading a lot of “easy thinking stories” lately, then finally admitted what they wanted by stating “trashy romance novels”.
I won’t lie, I legitimately felt sorry for this person as this is a very obvious case of internalized misogyny. This is a reader who’s found enjoyment in the romance genre, but has heard so often that romances are just dumb and trashy that they don’t feel as if they’re allowed to enjoy it without receiving a negative backlash. So they’re ashamed and can’t bring themselves to ask for more without bashing it in order to alleviate that shame and make it seem as if “I’m on board with the haters, I just enjoy a little “light reading that doesn’t break my brain” once in a while.”
Before I dig any deeper into this, allow me to state something up front; there are trashy romance novels out there, just as there are trashy sci-fi stories, and trashy mysteries. Trashy dramas, trashy horrors, trashy thrillers. There’s trash in every genre because not every book is a shining example of a good story for that genre. World building is unbelievable, mysteries are transparent, character responses are overly dramatic, and the thrills are cheap.
But if you’re a fan of the genre, you don’t throw the entire thing out because you read one bad book. Yet somehow, this happens with the romance genre frequently.
Bad romance stories are just like any other bad story; poor world building, weak plot devices, unrealistic characters, etc., and even fans of the genre will find a book they hate and call it trash. I’m no exception to this rule, and hell, I find some books I adore and some I hate within the same series. Here’s the best example I can think of on short notice; One of the most entertaining books I’ve read in recent times is Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole (the IAD Series). However, and on the flip side, one of the biggest disappointments I’ve read in recent times is Lothaire by Kresley Cole from the same series. Would I call that book trash? By some standards, I have to say yes, I really would.
But that book didn’t make me throw out the series, nor does a bad romance story make me throw out the entire genre and refuse to come back. After all, even a bad romance can serve a purpose in showing a reader what they don’t like, what doesn’t work for them, and help them to evolve their tastes so they know more precisely what it is they’re looking for.
So why is romance so consistently bashed with the trash stick? Well, the biggest reason is, in all honesty, misogyny–and before you throw your hands up and exclaim I knew it!, give me a chance to explain because I have two different points to make here, and one of them may not be what you’re expecting.
So first, let’s look at the way any and all things created by women for women get treated. These things are typically thought of as girly, and what do people usually associate with the word girly? Weakness, ineptitude, immaturity, frivolity, and even vapidness. So naturally, a genre that’s predominantly written by women for women must be filled with books that encompass these same qualities, right? They’re all shallow reads with no greater thought required than “character A hooks up with character B and that’s the story.”
Still and yet, you’ll hear women (as mentioned above) calling romance trashy, and while this can be attributed to internalized misogyny, that’s not always the case when you have books in every genre that are, in fact, trashy–which leads me to my second point.
These women’s opinions are based on a long standing reputation that wasn’t earned by the idea that romance is girly, but because thirty-forty years ago to be precise, quite a few romance novels employed a number of misogynistic plot devices to deliver a story, and they’ve given several women a damned good reason to hate romance.
For example, many heroines were never given a choice over whether or not they had sex with the hero. The reason is that female sexuality is apparently one of the greatest taboos the world has ever seen. A woman isn’t supposed to like, want, or enjoy sex, and if she does, she’s a slut/whore/harlot/tramp/slattern/etc., and women during that time period had been raised to believe such things about their own human needs and desires.
So it was harder for them to identify with female characters who had no shame over their sexuality, and readers could more readily accept a heroine who’s never given the chance to show their desire for sex by eliminating the possibility of giving consent altogether.
In turn, many people call romance trash because they think this is the continued standard of current novels on the market. So though (thankfully) this is much less commonly seen today, not everyone realizes just how much the romance genre has evolved since then. I mean look at women’s lib; the idea that women should be treated as equals was just the first step taken in feminism. But women weren’t elevated to a man’s status over night, and we’re still struggling for human rights in several regards. So the next step was learning how this is achieved, and the history of treatment female characters receive in romance novels is proof of the progress being made.
Decades ago, heroines weren’t given much choice, and today, you’ll find fifty books in a single search featuring heroines who’ll readily jump in the sack with no apologies because she’s not afraid to take what she wants. Or, on the reverse, you’ll find her refusing to have sex, saying no and actually being respected for her decision.
So yes, this “trashy” business is really just a lingering reputation that we’re all trying to get past. Some readers have, others just believe the caliber of romance is continuing on along the same lines. But unless what you want to read is a bad romance novel, I’d suggest not asking for trashy romance in your rec requests, and instead, just asking for good books that might tickle your fancy. :)
Okay! Let me start off by giving a massive thanks to Fangirl Musings (you can subscribe to her youtube channel here) for her many kind words and making my head explode! I certainly wasn’t expecting this when she said she’d purchased Strange Brew a few months ago, but I’m definitely glad she enjoyed it enough to feel it warranted one of her spiffy, awesomesauce video reviews! (No, really, you guys have no idea how hard my mind was blown by this!).
I also wanted to take the time to comment on something she suggests because it almost feels as if she was reading my friggin’ mind! Glowing praise aside, she mentions in her critique that the romance between Troy and Aislinn didn’t actually seem entirely well developed and suggests it may be due to the 5 day time jump after their first meet up. I found this extremely intriguing because! During the process of writing Strange Brew, I’d contemplated that time jump more than once. I recall thinking specifically, “Okay, you’re kind of glossing over the period in which this couple sings, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me!”
I’d agonized over this and tried to think of any way I might be able to add some story there that would flesh things out a little more thoroughly without bogging the rest of the book down. That time period is described as Troy and Aislinn bickering a lot because, well, he won’t leave her alone! Werewolf wants his woman and doesn’t understand what she’s going through at that point! In any case, the word count for all of my books is 100k words (typically industry standard) and as I proceeded to write the rest of the book, I reached this word limit, and also couldn’t think of much to add that wouldn’t bog the story flow down anyway. (Whenever writer’s say the story has a life of its own and takes them wherever it goes, they’re not just whistling dixie!).
So ultimately, it stayed the way it is now (though I did find amusement in the fact that Troy decided it would take two-three days tops to convince Aislinn, and then it’s like a week later). Anyway, I wanted to mention this because it’s just really weird that I had that insight and then she mentioned it in this video! GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE! <3
In any case, I'm so, so glad the book was enjoyable overall! If for no other reason, you guys should watch this because it's LOLtastic! But if you're into romance, I'd suggest subscribing to her channel because she reviews a LOT of romances that you might wanna read!
And, if this video interests you in Strange Brew, click here for more information!
The Crucible Paranormal Romance Series Book Eight: Cast Into Shadow
As an intelligence agent for The Bastion, Jennifer Kivsey usually works behind a desk, assisting other operatives from afar by supplying information whenever it’s needed. But the one time she volunteers to travel during an investigation, her journey takes her much farther from home than anticipated.
After discovering a random portal, Kivsey is unexpectedly pulled through worlds and stranded in the dark, underground caverns of Ithelyon. In immediate danger, she’ll need help if she wants to survive long enough to return home, and a random encounter with a Dok’aal Warlord could provide just that.
The problem? She’s part elven, and Dok’aal are notoriously leery of elves.
Mikail is a Warlord serving the hidden, subterranean city of Satorala, and his highest priority is the safety of his people. So allowing a stranded human to wander about and potentially discover the location of his home is out of the question, meaning he has no choice but to help her find her way.
But despite their inherent differences, Mikail quickly discovers that Kivsey isn’t the helpless human he’d expected. She’s clever, witty, compassionate, and soon has him wondering if she could be the woman he’s been dreaming of. Likewise, Kivsey finds the Warlord as sexy as he is suspicious, but how could a union ever be possible with two worlds standing between them?
Estimated Release: Winter 2017
So, for those of you who’ve read Fallen Hearts and had any interest in knowing what happened to Kivsey, here you go!–though the blurb only gives a vague idea about what’s happened to her and how/why she disappeared. Still, this story has been kicking around for quite some time now, and I’m excited to share it!
As for Mikail, the Dok’aal Warlord mentioned in the blurb, his race was featured in The Final Calling, but what was mentioned was really pretty vague. So to give a more thorough explanation, Dok’aal are Dark Elves, a.k.a. Half Elven and Half Demon (Perosian). In The Crucible Series, Dark Elves can be physically described as having argent skin tones ranging from light silvery to jet, typically white hair, and glowing eyes of all colors. They might also have pointed ears, fanged canines, and slitted pupils.
The Dok’aal are also briefly mentioned on my post about The Pantheon (read Satora’s blurb), and personally, Dark Elves are one of my favorite mythological races. So I’m really excited about this story, and the chance to finally introduce the Dok’aal into The Crucible Series in a more official capacity.
I’m not sure about the release date yet. I’ve listed Winter 2017 as the estimated release, but I’m hoping it’ll be closer to late fall. Either way, I hope you guys enjoy it when you get it, and I’ll share some excerpts as soon as I have something decent! :D
For a number of months now, I’ve been planning out a bestiary, and let me say, it is not easy! Those of you who’ve read my series know there are a good number of creatures featured across the books, so there’s a lot to get down! Some of these are based on classic mythology, some on urban legend, and others were just made up from scratch. So I thought some people might appreciate having them listed together in one place, the only problem is that it’s been hard for me to find time lately to actually finish it!
So, since progress on that front has been so slow, I thought I might hop over here to post some of the creatures I do have listings for! If you’re curious, some of my favorites include Brutes, Ghouls, and Will-o-Wisps! :)
Brute: A type of Sentinel based on necromancy. Instead of conjuring an animated suit of armor, a necromancer reanimates a corpse to serve their whims. Like Sentinels, Brutes do not require food or sleep, and will regenerate lost limbs with uncanny speed. They can also be programmed with a few basic commands due to their very limited intelligence. Yet these creatures are too powerful to be made and controlled in multiple numbers, and can be destroyed without killing the necromancer controlling them.
Physical abilities are dependant on the type of creature used to make the Brute, but all possess the ability to move in an out of Limbo, the Plane of the Dead. Oftentimes, the only warning a Brute is nearby is the putrid stench of decay just before they strike.
Cockatrice: A reptilian creature with the head of a rooster. Cockatrices vary in size, the biggest usually comparable to an ostrich, though some have been known to grow larger. Able to move at frightening speeds, particularly when sprinting, these animals can stun prey with their gazes, preventing escape for long enough to strike. Cockatrice eggs are sometimes used in magic spells meant to stun enemies.
Drake: A member of dragonkind, drakes are powerful animals and are typically more even tempered than their wyvern cousins. This, along with their physical builds, make them much more suitable for mounting and riding. Most drakes grow to fifteen feet in size, and may or may not possess wings. Due to the draconian practice of raising these beasts to perform in the ranks of the Skyriders, they haven’t been hunted for their scales nearly as often as wyverns.
These animals are found in five colors, each with a different ability (i.e., breathing fire (red), lightning (blue), poisonous acid (green), frost (white), or firing a psionic burst (black)).
Ghoul: Humans who remain daywalkers eventually transform into monsters known as ghouls. These mindless creatures operate on sheer instinct, which is a drive to consume flesh and blood. Physically, ghouls are grotesque, with large, empty black eyes and a lipless grin of razor sharp teeth. Though most appear to be slow moving with frail bodies in a hunched-over posture, they can jump and sprint at terrifying speeds. Ghouls tend to form nests underground due to their extreme light sensitivity, and will eat whatever living creature they get their claws on. Additionally, a single bite or scratch can transform a human.
Sentinel: Magically animated suits of armor (usually lacking a head, though some possess a helmet) conjured by mages to fight and/or protect them. These beings can summoned in multiple numbers, and do not require food or sleep. If taken apart, they will reassemble themselves and continue fighting in mere moments. The only way to destroy a sentinel is to kill the mage controlling it.
Skin Thieves (alt. Tratters): Tall, bony, skinless monsters that dwell in The Pit. These creatures wear the skin of their victims until it rots, and though they lack higher intelligence, they’ve been known to keep their victims captive if they survive the process of being skinned and regenerate quickly enough.
Trolls: An sentient race of monsters which were formerly elves. As legend goes, the Goddess of Light, Udana, forbade her children from leaving Divinity, warning them that a physical existence would only bring suffering. However, some left Divinity anyway, and as such, were forever cursed to wander the world as monsters. Because of this, trolls are sometimes referred to as The First Elves, though most true elves resent this moniker.
Physically, trolls come in all shapes and sizes, with oily, pebbled skin and black sclera instead of white (irises, skin tones, and hair are found in a wide range of colors). Their strength and speed are impressive, and though intelligent, their thirst for violence curbs their craftiness. They are also sensitive to light.
Will-o-Wisp: These creatures appear as small dots of floating light that tempt travelers into following them. Elves in particular are unable to resist their lure without a great deal of self control. If a Will-o-Wisp is successful at drawing someone in, they can, on the rare occasion, lead to great fortune. But much more commonly, the traveler will inevitably walk off a cliff or drown in a body of water trying to reach the glowing dot of light.
Wyvern: A member of dragonkind, wyverns grow larger than drakes, and are more temperamental. They also possess wings that double as arms. In Ithelyon, these beasts are endangered as they’re hunted for their scales, which possess protective properties to differing types of magic, with the red being the rarest of all. Like drakes, these animals are found in five colors, each with a different ability (i.e., breathing fire (red), lightning (blue), poisonous acid (green), frost (white), or firing a psionic burst (black)).
Heya guys! Hope your Spring is going well and that you’re planning to make some big waves during Summer! Personally, I can’t say Summer’s my favorite time of year (I’m much more of an Autumn/Winter girl), but I’ve got my own stuff laid out! Including this brand new, shiny post wee!
So, as some of you know, I’ve been writing in the romance genre for … actually, I’m not quite sure how long it’s been. I remember coming up with stories in high school, and I refuse to say how long ago that was now (it’ll depress me too much). But let’s just say it’s been “several years”, and in that time, I’ve been met with many successes and failures along the lines of plotting and planning, yet I’ve come to realize there’s one consistency that seems to ring true throughout the genre aside from the HEA.
What might that be, you ask?
It’s the first time your intended couple draws in close for a peck on the lips. The first kiss is a pivotal moment in any romance, and it stands out more than the first look, the first love scene, and even the first confession of love. All of these moments are essential to any romance of course (unless you’re writing a clean romance, but even then, there might be a moment that alludes to the couple getting it on, so … ), but the first kiss outweighs them.
It may be short, it may be aggressive, or it may be intended as a joke with no strings attached. But that moment is the one that opens doorways to an infinite number of possibilities for these characters. It’s a physical expression of love, a discovery, and the spark of a flame all rolled into one, even if the couple doesn’t precisely realize it at the time. The first kiss is a moment that can make your characters think, “What if?”, regardless of how rocky or adversarial their relationship has been up to then.
Perhaps they’ve been enemies all their lives, and some forced proximity accidentally brings them within smooching distance. Regardless of the immediate, outward reaction (she slaps him with a quickly demanded, “How dare you?”, or he informs her that her interpretation of his intentions was sorely mistaken) on the inside, these two are screaming, much like pterodactyls. What have I done? What could this mean? What does s/he think of me now? Why did I enjoy it? Could this go even further?
Outside, they cover it up, laugh it off, pretend it was just a meaningless trick, a method of distraction, or even just a playful attempt at getting attention. But inside?
So the first kiss is extremely important regardless of when it comes and the other activities the couple may have already engaged in. It encompasses pieces of all the other firsts, and gets the ball rolling toward a solid union and the book’s HEA.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments! Also, keep your eyes peeled because I have a new reveal incoming pretty soon! Cheers! :)
Thanks so much, Kelly! I’m so happy you enjoyed Jada and Dalris’ tale! :) <3
Paranormal/Fantasy Adult Romance
ARC provided for an honest review.
“Dalris Dra’Kai has served as the Terran head of his Draconian House for many long years, assigning jobs, collecting payments, and conducting family affairs. It’s a responsibility he takes seriously, though lately he’s longed for something more fulfilling than organizing business matters—and a good start would be finding his eternal mate.
But eight lonely centuries hasn’t offered much hope, and it isn’t until an unexpected encounter with a mysterious figure from his recent past that Dalris learns his mate isn’t what she seems. Furthermore? She’s on a treasure hunt of her own, but the prize she seeks isn’t riches or esteem … .
Jada Tavar has dedicated her life to finishing her grandfather’s work, and the elven antiquarian wasn’t searching for just any mundane treasure. Instead, he sought the true fate of the lost House of Rinora…
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“I loved everything about this book. I started reading it last night and didn’t want to put it down to sleep. Then when I started to near the last pages, I found myself trying to prolong it because I didn’t want the story to end. While I love my Isaac and he’s still my most beloved character of this series, I think the storyline in this book might be my favorite.”
—Dawn, Up’Til Dawn Book Blog ★★★★★ 5/5
Thank you so much for this review, Dawn! (The full review can be read on her blog!) I’m so glad to hear Fated Fortunes has turned out to be enjoyable! Somehow, this got me thinking about a particular file was going to try including in the final ebook, but didn’t get a chance to due to technical jargon I’m sure you’re all better off not hearing. But I decided to share the file here, which is a map of the areas in Ithelyon this book visits. I hope you guys enjoy! :D
Have a great holiday weekend, guys, and happy reading! :D
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