Welcome blog hoppers, to the Young Adult Faeries and Fantasy Giveaway Blog Hop! (Need to get back to the list? Click here.)
I am mainly known for my paranormal suspense series, The Claire Wiche Chronicles , but I also write YA fantasy. It’s my first love, and what I started writing many moons ago. You know, when I was twelve.
It was also the first thing I published when I started this crazy journey as an independent author. I would like to introduce you to Rosamond and Dan, the characters in my novella When Walls Can Talk.
Here is an excerpt:
Rosamond lifted her face to the morning sun, let its warmth seep into her skin. Today was her birthday, and milady gave her the entire day to do as she pleased. She planned to spend all of it as far from the castle as she could get. As far away from her memories as she could get.
Lifting her skirts, she ran across the bailey—and did a quick sidestep to avoid crashing into Nicolas, the burly captain in charge of the garrison. Strong fingers closed over one shoulder.
“Sorry, Rose. I didn’t see you.”
“Please don’t apologize, Nicolas—I know you have your hands full.” She looked up at him, worried by the lines of exhaustion that scored his face, and equally worried for their cause. “Is there any word on Prince Jaren?”
“None.” Nicolas rubbed the bridge of his nose, and his guard slipped long enough for Rosamond to see the anger, the fear, coiled in his dark brown eyes.
Prince Jaren had gone missing for three days now, and so far the patrols Nicolas sent out hourly had found no sign of him. Milady remained calm and unruffled, but Rosamond caught glimpses of the panic she hid behind her calm. That milady remembered her birthday at all made Rosamond doubly grateful. “How are you?”
Nicolas smiled, easing some of the strain.
“Better, now I’ve seen you. Lessons will have to wait, until we bring him home.”
That he didn’t add safe or alive to bringing the prince home tightened her throat. Milady would be devastated if the prince— “I know you’ll find him, Nicolas.”
“Your words to the gods ears, Rose.”
Rosamond rubbed at the calluses in her palm that even heavy gloves didn’t prevent. She resorted to wearing the lacy half-gloves she hated to keep from snagging milady’s clothing. But she knew, given her history, how those lessons eased the concern for her, so she kept any objections to herself.
“Not to worry. My sword and those blasted throwing knives aren’t going anywhere. Unfortunately.”
His smile widened, just as she intended.
“So, my girl, you have the day off from your lessons. What about your duties as milady’s favorite new lady-in-waiting?”
Rosamond blushed at the compliment.
“She gave me the entire day to myself.”
“Then you go and enjoy it.” He took her hands, his calloused grip warm and comforting. “Let the past stay in the past, where it belongs.”
Swallowing, she stared at his hands.
“I’m planning to do just that. Nicolas, I—”
“Not another thank you.” He squeezed her hands. “You’ve more than earned your place here, and I could not be more proud of who you’ve become. Take today, make it your own.” Smiling, he leaned in and whispered against her hair. “Happy birthday, Rose.”
Before she could shake her surprise, he left her, stalking the length of the bailey, his clenched fists the only giveaway of his fear for the prince. With a slower, heavier step she headed for her destination, waving at the soldiers who trained a few yards away.
The stable doors stood open, and as she approached she could hear Dan singing to the horses. His voice had deepened over the last few months to a rich, scratched velvet tone. He spent those months in constant embarrassment, his voice cracking at unexpected moments—and blushed furiously every time it betrayed him. Now she heard the voice of the man he was becoming, and she liked it, far too much.
She stepped inside, her skirts rustling on the fresh straw. Dan glanced over his shoulder, black hair tied back in a queue, and gave her a crooked smile.
“Morning, Rose. Have a seat—I’ve almost finished Lacy. She had a limp today, but we found the reason, didn’t we, Lacy?” He ran the wide brush along the bay’s flank, smooth, even strokes. “A bit early to be leaving the Duchess, isn’t it?”
Her heart skipped. He’s forgotten my birthday. She tamped down her disappointment. With everyone in the castle worried about Prince Jaren, all the extra patrols and the entire garrison stomping around the bailey, the added work for Dan and his father most likely pushed it right out of his mind.
“How would you like to spend the day with me, a picnic basket, and two horses?”
He turned, dropping the brush in a wooden box.
“And what’s the occasion?”
“Milady gave me the day off.”
“I’ll have to do some asking. Soldiers are thick on the ground today.” The same fear she saw in Nicolas flared across Dan’s face. “I saw you talking to the captain. Anything?”
“Not yet. I am sorry, Dan.” As the prince’s groom, Dan worked with him almost daily, and cared for him more than he would ever admit. “They won’t stop until they find him.”
“It’s been too long, Rose. If he’s hurt—” Anguish scraped across his voice.
He swung away from her reaching hand, shoulders hunched.
“I’ll be right back. Don’t run away.”
He grabbed Lacy’s bridle, his left foot dragging as he led her back to her stall. Rosamond watched him, tasting the horror she had felt when the prince’s new stallion attacked Dan moments after arriving at the castle. He’d gone wild, those deadly hooves breaking Dan’s leg, his left arm, and slashing open the skin over his right eye before soldiers managed to get the beast under control.
Two years of healing gave him back full use of his arm, left a long, narrow scar that cut through his right eyebrow. But the butchers who called themselves physicians set his leg wrong. By the time Dan’s father discovered it, nothing could be done.
Dan compensated for the weakness quite well, though the damp winters tired him, and she knew his leg ached more than he let on. He could still ride better than most of the cavalry, and he never lost his love for the horses in his care. Rosamond admired his courage; she’d been too scared to go near a horse for months after the attack.
“I’ve been freed.” Dan moved across the stable, graceful despite his broken gait. Smiling, the pain in his eyes gone for the moment, he lifted his hand and opened it. “Happy birthday, Rose.”
Want more? You can get it at Amazon for only $1.99. And the sequel, Danel of Black Mountain, will be coming your way in February.
And now for my dragon-inspired giveaway – leave a comment on who your favorite fantasy character is, and you will be entered to win! The winner will be announced here on the 15th.
Thanks for stopping by, and until next time – read on.
Happy Friday! And here comes another weekend, filled with the frenzy of Christmas shopping, planning dinners, throwing dinner parties, and rearranging schedules for family and friends.
How about a little escape? I have just the ticket – a good read, or twenty.
Come check out a plethora of books here – at the bargain price of 99 cents and free!
Along with the fab reads, there is also a Rafflecopter giveaway, with the top prize a $100 gift card from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes – your choice.
Want a taste of the books on offer? Here is a sampler:
Download it for free at Smashwords.
My offering is my YA novella, When Walls Can Talk, which is free on Amazon December 7-11, then 99 cents until December 14. After that it will go back to 1.99.
So grab it now – this is the last time it will be free, and the sequel, Danel of Black Mountain, will be coming your way just before Christmas.
Now go and download some fab books, by some incredibly talented writers.
Until next time – Happy Holidays, put up your feet, and read on.
I finished book 2 of my series *whew*, and it is off to its first beta. I’m relieved, and terrified. Just the usual.
And to celebrate, I have my novella When Walls Can Talk free for the next 3 days!
You can click on the book cover in the sidebar, or right here. This will be the last time you can get it free, so go grab your copy.
And watch for the next adventure with Rosamond and Dan, Danel of Black Mountain, coming in November.
Happy Tuesday, and until next time – read on.
So go on over and get a copy – they give up to 5 away for free.
And you can also enter to win a Kindle Fire – but today is the last day to enter.
Head over and support a great new site – oh, and check out my book, too.
Until next time – read on!
I still have one day to go on my free promo with KDP Select - I decided to go full bore and use all 5 days – and I am quite pleased with the results so far.
When Walls Can Talk went from oblivion to hit the top 20 of the Children’s Fantasy & Sci Fi and Fantasy & Magic lists. I’m even getting downloads in Germany.
This is a new release, with no reviews, and no real publicity beyond my blog post, some Facebook time, and some Twitter posts.
So, we’ll see what happens on Wednesday when I go back to paid – it’s been quite a ride so far.
And just to let you all know, with the exception of the book reviews I have promised to do, I’ll be off the blog for the next couple of weeks. I’m in the final push with my novel, and I’m going to put all my focus on it.
Until next time,
For those of you who hang out at my site, you may have noticed the title of my novel has changed. I did this for a good reason – and feel like I dodged a bullet in the process.
I thought it would be cool to use song lyrics for the titles of my Claire Wiche books, and I was so enamored of the idea, I didn’t even think of one little detail – copyright.
A random thread brought it to my attention, and after I finished having heart palpitations, I promptly did some research. There is a law known as Fair Use. Wikipedia gives a great explanation, but here is the bottom line – use song lyrics anywhere in your writing, and you better have permission.
A song title can be quoted, since it can’t be copyrighted, but lyrics are like any other kind of writing – and they are protected.
Think of it this way – would you want your opus quoted, and not get the credit for it? Nope, neither would I.
So I decided to avoid the entire issue, and changed my book title. By the way - the new title is from the Bible, which is completely public domain. I checked.
If you want to go ahead and use those lyrics, get the permission, give the proper credit, double and triple check the law. You can also simply refer to them – or write your own.
Yes, you can – it’s not as hard as you think.
Now, for the experiment:
you may have also noticed as you stalk my site that I have my novella exclusively for sale on Amazon. I did that for a reason.
Since this is my first release, it is also my chance to play, try things out, see what flies, and what crashes. My first big leap is a free promo through KDP Select. From today until Tuesday, Feb. 21 at midnight Pacific Standard Time, When Walls Can Talk will be free to download.
The purpose? To bump myself up in the rankings, get on some lists, and get more eyes on my book.
I am going to have fun with it, enjoy the ride – and I’ll report the results next week.
And yes, I believe this calls for a squee!
Until next time – write on