No Smoke Without Fire with Kay Ellis

February 17, 2016

No Smoke Without Fire

In the words of the song – whoa oh, my sex is on fire. Literally, in this case!

Hi, I’m Kay Ellis and I’m here to talk about my latest release, The Fire King. This is the third book in the Evolin series and continues Sully and Tylan’s story. Mostly Sully’s as Tylan is conspicuously absent, assumed to be dead, for most of the book, and Sully’s head is turned by a handsome newcomer.

It first became clear that the fire had its own personality during The Fallen, when Tylan said he thought the fire was in love with Sully. Now, their roles are reversed. Tylan is trapped inside the mind of the fire and the fire is flesh and blood and out to claim Sully for its own.

The evolvement of the fire seemed a natural progression and I liked the idea of giving it human traits and a personality. I’m a great admirer of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, in particular, the character Death. One of my favourite Pratchett books is when Death takes a holiday because he wants to know what it means to be human. I love the part where he gets bored of being drunk so he stops and goes home. Death wants to understand why life is so precious; people will do anything to hold onto it.

In The Fire King, Okhela (aka the fire) wants Sully to teach him to be man. I guess it would be unsettling to any of us to know that our most human traits, mannerisms and odd little habits, are not yours at all, but belong to someone else. Personally, I think I have some habits nobody else would want to lay claim too. I’m rather OCD about a lot of things from not touching the car after I’ve locked it to only using even numbers!

Writing is such a great release for me. It’s good to lose myself in my little fantasy worlds. Right now, I’m working on a piece that is probably half contemporary and half fantasy. It’s a bit of a change for me because it involves an alien invasion!

If we ever were invaded, I would definitely want to hide behind Daryl Dixon and his crossbow. So let’s throw it out there. In the case of an alien invasion, who would you want protecting you and why? Where would you go to escape? My favourite answer will win a copy of either Fireheart or The Fallen, the first books in the Evolin series

Check out Kay Ellis on Facebook!

Get “The Fire King” today!

FireKing[The]

Blurb: 

Sully is summoned back to Maestraad by the entity who took control of Tylan’s body when Tylan perished. This Fire King—now calling himself Okhela—offers Sully a bargain he cannot refuse: if, after six months, Sully fails to fall in love with him, Okhela will return Tylan. The trouble is, as much as Sully wants to hate Okhela, the Fire King rules with wisdom and generosity… and Sully cannot resist the attraction he feels toward the handsome king. Though his heart will always belong to Tylan, Sully gives in to his body’s demands.

But can Sully trust Okhela to keep his word? With assassins on the loose, can Sully keep the Fire King alive long enough to find out? With the future of the kingdom—as well as his heart—at stake, Sully must call upon old friends and new to protect the Fire King, who might hold the keys to both.

 

Finding the Fairy in Fairytales with Joe Cosentino

January 27, 2016

Finding the Fairy in Fairytale

Hi, fairytale lovers, this is Joe Cosentino taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog. Don’t worry, they let me do it. You might have read my three novellas from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION (winner of Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Award for 2nd Place for Favorite MM Novel of the Year!), A SHOOTING STAR, and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I’m here with you to talk about my current novella releasing today (Happy Release Day!), THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND.

The Naked Prince cover

I had terrible insomnia as a kid, and my older (sorry, sis) sister read fairytales to me at night so I would finally go to sleep. It worked! And it still works today! Except I read them to myself now to fall asleep. I know what you’re thinking. How can those sometimes violent, sexist, dark stories relax you to sleep? I was and still am totally transported by those magical tales of common people defying the odds, struggling through misfortune, surviving abuse, and ending up with their one true love—often a prince or princess in a palace! The likeable characters, witty dialogue, creative plot twists and turns, stunning illustrations, sense of wonderment, high drama, and of course happily ever after endings still make me cheer (and obviously konk out at night). I wanted (and still do) to live in those quaint mountain villages, rub elbows (and other things) with those charming princes, outsmart the witches and top 1%ers, and live happily ever after in those palaces. So my sister and I wrote, directed, choreographed, and costumes elaborate musical fairytales for our very patient family and neighbors. No ten million-dollar Broadway budget for us. Our parents’ card-table, bedsheets, blankets, robes, coats, serving bowls, and wooden spoons were all we needed for our audience to enter fairyland.

After college I continued playing make believe as a professional actor including acting in fairytale-like productions such as Roar of the Greasepaint on stage with Nathan Lane, A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage with Bruce Willis, and the ABC-TV Afterschool Special My Mother Was Never a Kid with Holland Taylor. I also wrote and directed musical plays for professional touring theatre companies, many based on fairytales like The Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

As such a lover of fairytales I often wondered why there are no gay characters in them! Okay, Prince Charming does seem a little gay. Peter Pan may have a thing for the captain’s hook. And I have my suspicions about what the seven dwarves really did with the Woodsman in the woods. Yet there are no openly gay characters or same-sex romances in fairytales. I had my hopes up when Disney and other companies produced Broadway musicals and movies based on fairytales. But no luck. When openly gay celebrities like Chris Coffer wrote fairytale books, again I assumed the breakthrough would come. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Surely there are some gay people in fairyland! Why don’t we read about them?

As a writer, my imagination kicked into gear, and I started thinking about my favorite fairytales. Why couldn’t a poor boy living with his stepmother and stepsisters fall in love with a handsome prince? Couldn’t a blond boy who was thrown out of his home for being gay seek shelter with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage really about? Did Jack and the Giant do more up there on the beanstalk than they let on? And could the Snow Queen be a tantalizing, smooth-faced prince with a cold heart?

So I wrote four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and definitely gay tales from Fairyland for THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. “The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in the Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart.

So if you’re a fairytale lover like me, or even if you aren’t, I think you will enjoy these very gay fairytales. Maybe movie studios will finally take notice, and realize the most entertaining inhabitants of fairyland are the fairies.

***

I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Now it’s YOUR turn. Write a comment about your favorite fairytale. Why do you love it? What’s gay about it? After seventy-two hours I will choose the comment that tickles my Fairyland dust the most and the winner will receive a gift e-book of my hit novella from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION (soon to be partnered with A SHOOTING STAR for a paperback version releasing March 21!). Thanks for reading my blog post. I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

***

An excerpt from THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND:

 

As was his custom, Cinder sat at the fireplace, lit a candle, and placed his pet mouse from the jar onto his lap. He closed his eyes and asked his fathers to help him get to the ball to give his stepsister her missing apparel for her dance with the prince. Suddenly the flame of the candle flickered, and Cinder heard his fathers’ voices. Cinder’s father Maxwell, told him how much he missed him. Cinder’s other father, Mortimer, reminded Maxwell that he missed Cinder too. Maxwell explained to Cinder that he was safe and happy in the other world. Mortimer interjected that Maxwell should not forget that Mortimer was safe and happy in the other world with Maxwell. It was the most comforting moment of Cinder’s life, except for meeting the young man in the meadow.

Maxwell then said, “Cinder, my son, whom I love more than anything in all creation, your fathers have been granted one night, and one night only, with the power to help you. And we have chosen this night.”

“Tell our boy what we are going to do for him,” said Cinder’s other father Mortimer.

Maxwell explained that Cinder would attend the prince’s ball.

Cinder could not believe what he was hearing. At first he thought it was a dream, but no dream could ever be so wonderful. Knowing his stepsister must be heartbroken without her hat and bag, Cinder hoped he could get them to her before she danced with the prince.

“Tell Cinder the stipulation, Maxwell.”

“I was just about to do that, Mortimer.” Then Maxwell said to Cinder with tenderness in his voice, “My son—”

“He’s my son too, Maxwell,” added Cinder’s other father.

After taking a calming breath, Maxwell continued. “Our son, the great force has granted me—”

Mortimer cleared his throat.

“Has granted us the special power to send you to the prince’s ball, but the power will last for one night only. At the stroke of midnight, everything will return back to the way it was.”

Cinder was incredibly grateful to his fathers. He wanted more than anything to tell them how much he loved them and to ask them so many questions, including whether they could help him see the young man from the meadow again. But before Cinder could speak, a slight breeze grazed his cheek. The breeze grew slowly and steadily in intensity and finally became a gust of wind as Cinder’s burlap clothing magically transformed into an exquisite powder blue suit, ruffled shirt, and handkerchief. Cinder looked down at his feet and noticed the mouse’s pickling jar had been transformed into handsome glass slippers. The wind continued to grow until it threw open the cottage door, carrying a pumpkin from the root vegetable bin and Cinder’s pet mouse with it. Cinder hurried outside and marveled as the pumpkin turned into a stunning gold coach and the pet mouse expanded into a handsome coachman. The squirrel, chipmunk, rabbit, and blue jay frolicked in the wind until they became four striking white horses.

***

Purchase Links:

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

ARe

 

Links to Joe Cosentino:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

Artistic Inspiration with Antonia Aquilante – Post + Giveaway

December 21, 2015

Artistic Inspiration

Hi, everyone! I’m Antonia Aquilante, and I’m here to talk with you about my novel, The Artist’s Masquerade, which is out today. The Artist’s Masquerade is the second book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, but it can be read on its own if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet. Here’s the description:

As the first-born son of the Duke of Tournai and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always tried to fulfill his duty to family and country, including following through with an arranged marriage to Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal. Cathal doesn’t know that Flavia is really Flavian, a man masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive place in which Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.

Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s true gender, he cannot fight his attraction to him. Flavian is intrigued by Cathal, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries Cathal is more taken with his feminine illusion than the man beneath it. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent that allows him to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—a skill invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.

In The Artist’s Masquerade, as the title states, Flavian is an artist, and he’s an extremely  talented one who hopes to make his living as an artist once he is able to shed his disguise and is settled in Tournai. Things don’t go quite to plan upon his arrival in Tournai, but his belief in his dream and his confidence in his own talent never waver.

There are many references to art in this book, and in the previous book in the series, The Prince’s Consort. Amory, one of the main characters of that book, enjoys art and drawing, though he’s only a talented amateur. Tournai is famous all over for its glass art. And of course there’s Flavian himself, who spends as much time with his art as he can.

I would love to say I planned all of this out before I started writing the series, but I really didn’t (I’m such a pantser!). I can tell you that my own love of art certainly influenced and inspired the inclusion of the art references in the stories. I’ve always enjoyed art, learning about it, drawing and painting. I took art class each year in high school and drawing class in college, and my art history class in college was one of my favorite classes. I went to college in Washington, DC and spent so much time in the National Gallery of Art during those four years, wandering among the paintings, even sitting and sketching. My family used to joke that I made a weekly visit to the Monets there. The National Gallery is one of the places I miss most now that I don’t live in DC anymore. But I do live near New York City, so the Met isn’t far, and I love visiting art museums when I travel (my family puts up with it… to a point). When I was lucky enough to visit Florence, Italy, a major highlight for me was the Uffizi Gallery. I could have spent all day there (my family would not have liked that), and most of it staring at Botticelli’s Primavera, which is one of my favorite paintings.

So I guess it’s no surprise that my love of art has made its way into my stories.

Giveaway: My favorite types of art are Renaissance and Impressionism. For a chance to win an ebook of The Artist’s Masquerade, tell me your favorite artist or type of art or even your favorite art museum.

 

About Antonia:

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.

Find Antonia here:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Character Creations with Antonia Aquilante – Post + Giveaway

October 14, 2015

Hi, everyone! My name is Antonia Aquilante, and I’m excited to be here today to talk with you about my debut novel, The Prince’s Consort, releasing October 16th. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance about a prince and the son of a glass merchant. Here’s the blurb:

 

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time. 

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

***

When I’m writing, the ideas for my stories often come in the form of characters first, and that’s what happened with The Prince’s Consort. I was actually writing a different story entirely, and Amory and Philip were meant to be minor characters who were only in a couple of scenes. They were much older in that story and had been together for a long time. The first scene I wrote with Amory in it just flowed – and I loved Amory immediately.

More about Amory and Philip’s characters kept coming to me, but I was writing a story about someone else. So I made notes about Amory and Philip and set them aside, telling myself I would write their story later, after I finished what I was working on. But even as I wrote that other story, Amory and Philip kept filtering in. I suddenly knew how they meet; I could see the scene in my head. I learned more and more about who they are – Amory’s quiet strength and huge capacity for love, Philip’s protectiveness and hidden vulnerability. And I really wanted to know how they got from that first meeting to the place I knew they’d be in the story I was writing at the time (living happily ever after, of course).

I repeated to myself – and them – over and over to be patient. Soon – I’d write their story soon.

And then I hit a wall in the story I was writing. Something wasn’t working, and I couldn’t quite place what. I beat my head against that wall for a long while, but I got no closer to the problem, and Amory and Philip were still demanding their story be told.

I’m the type of person who likes to finish a project before moving to the next. Every story I’ve written, I’ve finished before beginning another. Normally I just keep working at it, keep thinking and writing, and I get back on track. I didn’t this time. I did something I never do; I put the other project aside and turned to Amory and Philip’s story. I’m so happy I did. And not just because The Prince’s Consort has become my first published novel (even though I’m still giddy about that!), but because I loved figuring out who Amory and Philip are and the world they live in, and what happens to them on their road to happily ever after. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.

***

For a chance to win a copy of The Prince’s Consort, tell me about a time when you did the opposite of what you would normally do and the situation turned out better than you expected. Or did it not turn out so well?

***

Bio: Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

 

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaAquilanteAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/antoniaquilante

Tower of the Ice Lord excerpt and giveaway with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

Thanks for joining me today for the Tower of the Ice Lord release party! I’ll leave you with an excerpt from the story. I’m also doing a giveaway of a free copy of the ebook – details at the end of this post!

***

Chapter One

The tower stood at the edge of the northern wastes, casting its long shadow upon the frozen landscape. Ancient beyond the memory of man and forged from the ashes of a fallen star, it thrust spikes of iron into the sky. Whispered legends told how sorceries guarded the gates and warded the walls. Winds howled through the turrets like the voices of the damned. They called it the Tower of Lost Souls, and Arius was its master.

He lived alone. All sorcerers did. He had taken and tamed this wilderness, and consequences befell those who dared trespass in his domain. For he had been sworn to the service of Gaia: set to war against the lords of Evernesse, all his purpose bent toward their doom. He had long ago buried the desire for human comfort and human company.

But that solitude was fractured on the night the ice wolves brought the stranger. Arius heard their baying across the distant miles and knew their patrols had found an enemy. From the battlements, he watched them herd their prey into the shadow of the tower.

The ghost owl watched with him, drifting on silent wings to settle on his shoulder. Its warm weight allayed his stirrings of unease.

“Well, Ghost,” he said, “shall we see what our friends have fetched us today?”

The ghost owl slanted its pale gaze on him, but made no answer.

Arius stroked its head and descended the hundred steps of the spiral stair. Before exiting the tower, he donned his ice wolf mask: cool ivory calming his blood, narrow slits sharpening his gaze. Armor against the distractions and delusions of the world.

He waited before the gates as the ice wolves drew to a halt, white flanks heaving, tongues lolling between teeth. Their kind had brought down mammoths in ages past, but Arius commanded them now. When he advanced, they yielded way, revealing the man they escorted between them.

He had slipped to his knees in the wet snow, soaking his trousers and boots. But he pushed himself doggedly back to his feet. His eyes were green as new leaves, hair gold like summer sun. Startlingly young for an aspiring champion, he stared at Arius in open curiosity when seasoned warriors quailed to face him.

“No invader has ever breached these walls,” Arius said. “Did you think you would be the first?”

“I’m not here to fight, Ice Lord,” the man said steadily. “I’ve come to offer myself to you.”

Arius suffered several moments of thunderstruck silence before he found words. “You’re hardly pretty enough to tempt me.”

The man flushed, staining his cheeks a becoming shade of rose. “Not like that. I know your god demands royal blood to end this war. Take me as your sacrifice.”

No words seemed adequate. “What mockery is this? Who do you think you are?”

“I’m the son of the king of Evernesse,” said the young man in the threadbare cloak. “And I mean what I say. If I trade myself to your god, will you call off your vendetta?”

His earnest tone roused only ire in Arius. This could be nothing save madness or trickery, and he would not be so easily deceived. “You are mistaken if you think to play games with me. Only a fool would believe your tale.”

The man regarded Arius with serious eyes. “Don’t you believe someone can love enough to die for another?”

Arius was thankful his mask concealed any reaction. Suppressing his disquiet, he answered, “You’ll die indeed. The only question is swiftly or slowly.” With a snap of his fingers, he summoned the ice wolves to attention. He felt savage satisfaction at the panic that flashed across the man’s face. “Take this prisoner to the dungeons.”

Arius stalked into the tower without a second glance, trusting his servants to carry out his wishes. He needed to commune with his brethren. He ascended the spiral stair, to the highest level of the tower, the Moon Chamber.

Eight arched windows cut into the walls, at cardinal and intercardinal points. Prisms of glass hung suspended in long chains, catching and refracting every sparkle of light, so that Arius walked through a frozen waterfall.

He angled them with care and precision, and though the waning moon was a mere sliver in the sky, its beams focused and refocused as they bounced between the prisms, until they shone bright silver in the round mirror at the center of the chamber.

Arius bowed over the Moon Mirror, calming his mind. “Ixia. I would speak with you.”

The mirror shivered, like wind rippling water. The shape of a face emerged from the brightness: a mask of carnelian, sculpted in the form of a hawk. She was guardian of the south, as he was guardian of the north. To the east and west, there were others, standing their shared vigil over the centuries.

“To what do I owe this rare occasion?” said the blood hawk to the ice wolf.

“Sister of mine,” Arius said, “I have had an unexpected visitor.” He relayed the encounter to her. “Never have I seen the like. Armies they have sent against us, and archmages, and assassins. All have failed. And now this, an ordinary man alone.”

The mask gave nothing away, but her amber eyes flickered with interest. “Perhaps he comes because they have failed.” She shook her head. “All these centuries hurling ourselves against the might of Evernesse, and here comes this gift fallen into your palm.”

“Gift or curse? Surely you do not trust it.”

“Then kill him and be done with it. But I trust in the wisdom of Gaia, against whom even the Eternal Mountain must crumble. Perhaps the king remembers the pact he betrayed. Perhaps he is ready to fulfill the bargain his ancestors made.”

“Not the king,” Arius said. “A prince.”

“Lord or heir, it is all the same. They pledged themselves in exchange for power, and now they owe the blood price. Or the land will suffer.”

“I know how the land suffers.” They both did. The blood hawks flew over deserts, and the ice wolves roamed through desolation, while the lords of Evernesse lived in their mountain paradise.

“Then you know your path already. You have no need of my counsel.”

Perhaps. And yet, “It has been too long since we spoke face-to-face.” It was a small jest; he had never seen her face.

“Indeed. Fare you well, brother of mine.” The blood hawk mask faded from the mirror, leaving Arius to contemplate his own reflection.

His path lay clear before him: the god called for a sacrifice, and the prince came to offer it. But there remained the question he had not asked Ixia, the question that troubled his thoughts.

Don’t you believe someone can love enough to die for another?

***

For your chance to win a free copy of the ebook, comment with what you like seeing in fantasy romance. After 12pm EST on Friday, one commenter will be randomly drawn to win.

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Tower of the Ice Lord and tea for two with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

There is a saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That may be a cliche, but just about everywhere in the world, sharing food together is a way for people to celebrate and to connect.

In Tower of the Ice Lord, there are several occasions when Arius and Loren share a meal together, and it becomes a small act of caring that shows their growing bond.

On a slight tangent, I was amused to find that one of my favourite tea shops, Adore Tea, had flavours of tea that seemed to match the characters:

Arius would be Arctic Fire (“the strong minty flavour will invigorate your mind and the sweet undertones will soothe your senses”).

Loren would be Enchanted Garden (“bursting with blossoms and exotic fruits this brew is sure to enchant your mind and spellbind your senses”).

Have there been any memorable meals in your favourite books? Or are there any characters you would love to invite to a dinner party?

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Tower of the Ice Lord and theme songs with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

Many years ago, I read a book called Bad Voltage by Jonathan Littell. On the last page, the author listed the songs that had inspired him while writing the story, and said, “If you liked the movie, this is the soundtrack.”

Those words blew me away. A soundtrack for a book? How cool was that idea?

Ever since then, I’ve been alive to the possibility of songs that would fit the stories I’m writing. It’s a lot of fun to hear a song come onto the radio and think, “Wait, that would be the perfect theme song for this character!” Sometimes I also imagine what song would be playing in the climactic scene, or over the end credits. It’s like getting to compile a mixtape for a friend.

For Tower of the Ice Lord, that perfect theme song is “Force of Nature”, from the musical The Fourth Messenger by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng. I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it. Although the song is about enlightenment, I think it also works as a song about love being a force of nature, as well as about the battle between the human world and the natural world. And I adore the chorus, with its beautiful images of the moon turning tides and the sun melting ice – just like how meeting the right person can change your world forever.

You can listen to the song here:
http://thefourthmessenger.com/music/

Do you have songs you associate with your favourite books and characters?

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Tower of the Ice Lord release party with Anne Mok

July 2, 2015

Hello! I’m Anne, posting from Sydney, Australia. My first novella, Tower of the Ice Lord, was released by Dreamspinner on 1 July. Looking forward to chatting with you all today!

Tower of the Ice Lord cover

Tower of the Ice Lord

I’m an avid reader, and some of genres I love are fantasy, science fiction, romance, historical, and mystery. Tower of the Ice Lord is a fantasy romance, and it was exciting to take what I enjoy most about these two genres and blend them together: the sense of wonder of fantasy, and the slow burn fire of romance.

Here’s the blurb:

Don’t you believe someone can love enough to die for another?

Arius the sorcerer has lived in solitude for centuries, watching over his frozen tundra and sending his ice wolves against the kingdom of Evernesse. Only a sacrifice of royal blood can end the war, and it comes when Loren, son of the king of Evernesse, arrives at the Ice Lord’s tower, willing to die to procure peace. Though stunned and mistrustful, Arius agrees. But as the fateful day draws nearer, Arius learns Loren’s bravery and commitment run deeper than he suspected, and Loren begins to see the lonely man beneath the Ice Lord’s mask. Arius’s god demands a sacrifice, Loren might be his people’s only hope, and both men must choose between the conflicting demands of duty and love.

Fantasy is often about saving the world with heroic acts of courage. Romance takes a different kind of courage: the courage to trust, to believe, and to open your heart to someone else.

What are your favourite things about the genres you love? Are there genres you like seeing combined together?

Buy link: Tower of the Ice Lord
My website: annemok.com

Harmony Ink New Release: October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014

Guardians (The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two) by A.M. Burns

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Bigfoot Thom Woodman feels like he’s being forced to choose between the human and Oh Mah worlds, and life with or without his mate, Ben. Guardians (The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two) by A.M. Burns, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two

Thom Woodman is a bigfoot, although he prefers to be called an Oh Mah. When it comes time for the Oh Mah biannual gathering, he’s excited to go with Ben Steele, the human he bonded with.

To Thom’s surprise, he is offered a place among the Guardians, the leaders of the Oh Mah. But since he grew up half in the human world, he can’t make a decision before he finds out more about these Guardians.

When an Oh Mah is killed by a human, the growing antihuman sentiment runs rampant through the gathering. Thom’s family swears to help protect Ben, but when some of the Guardians join the anti-human faction, they aren’t sure they can live up to their promise. Even when Ben is kidnapped, Thom doesn’t know what to say when the Guardians demand his answer. Thom feels like he’s not only being forced to choose between the Oh Mah and the human world, but also between a life with or without Ben.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Fantasy: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy: High Fantasy, Paranormal: Other, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 30, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-389-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-389-9)

Harmony Ink New Release: September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

When homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door, he must remember his true name and master his extraordinary abilities. Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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2nd Edition

On his way to meet a fate he’d rather avoid, homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door and is caught up in a whirlwind quest and an ancient war. He tries to convince himself that his involvement with sword fights, magic, and interworld travel is a fluke, and that ice-breathing dragons and fire-breathing eagles don’t really exist. But with each passing hour, he remembers more about who he is and where he’s from, and with help, he begins to claim his power.

Lucky might someday rule a nation, but before he can do that, he must remember his true name, accept his destiny, and master his extraordinary abilities. Only then can he help to banish the evil that has invaded earth and find his way home—through a gateway to another world.

Length: Novel (296p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 11, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-248-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-246-5)