Writing Fantasy Romance

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By Eleri Stone, author of THE SHAPE OF TEMPTATION

My first book boyfriend was Jimmy the Hand from Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga. I’m talking about the young Jimmy the Hand from the Magician books—the clever teenaged orphan thief who gets swept up in an epic battle between good and evil. I was only about twelve or thirteen myself at the time so the teenager thing worked for me then. The thing is, the Riftwar Saga is fantasy, not romance, and Jimmy the Hand is a very minor character. This is how fanfic happens.

I made up great adventures for Jimmy where he got to be the star and not the sidekick. Stories where he fell in love with nerdy girls who liked to read too much but would drop everything to go on an adventure with a smart-mouthed pickpocket who needed help saving the world.

Fantasy was my favorite genre at the time and, while I liked the adventure parts of the stories just fine, I often found the romantic subplots unfulfilling. So, I owe a lot to Jimmy who inspired me to start writing my own stories where I could combine adventure and fantasy and romance all together. And I do still have a preference for heroes who are roguishly charming. You can see a touch of that in Benim, the hero from my new fantasy romance, The Shape of Temptation. He’s a soldier, not a thief, and he’s not out to save the world this time around. But he does fall head over heels for Kailey, who is both a powerful mage from a backwater territory and a completely unsuitable woman for a city-born soldier to fall in love with. The world they’re living in is full of magic, political machination and inconvenient class rules that keep Benim and Kailey apart. I hope you like their story!

9781426899553-COVHe once controlled her fate; now she holds his heart—and his body—in her hands…

Living in a humble village at the edge of the Sarian Empire, Kailey is a gifted but untrained mage with an affinity for stone. She believes herself well beyond the reach of the guild that controls all magic within the empire until Benim, an unwilling guild soldier, appears at her door. She’s part of his quest to assemble gifted citizens for entrance to University.

As Kailey struggles to navigate the strange society of the Sarian upper class, she’s tasked by a guild master to create a masterpiece for the emperor. And when Benim is commissioned as her model, Kailey comes to crave the hard-bodied soldier she spends her days sculpting inch by intimate inch.

Benim cannot resist the warmth of Kailey’s spirit nor the comforts found within her body, though he knows that a poor soldier has no place in a mage’s world. But he and Kailey will have to overcome more than just class differences in order to remain together. For someone has made Kailey a pawn in her mentor’s ambitious play for power…

This is Book Two in the Spellcraft series, but the books don’t need to be read in order. They share a common world, but there’s not an overarching plot or shared characters.

Are there any non-romance series that you love but wish had a little more romance to them?
~

Get your copy of THE SHAPE OF TEMPTATION from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after.

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Genre Spotlights: Erotic Romance

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Need books to spice up your February? Carina Press has three new Erotic Romances perfect to add a little sizzle to your date nights!

9781426899522-COVThe Companion Contract by Solace Ames

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Control. Submission. Power.

Amy Mendoza knew she’d never have a Cinderella story. She walked away from the ashes of her childhood on her own, and signed her first porn contract the day she turned eighteen. The money’s been good, but it’s time to walk away again before the life drags her down. When a mysterious stranger offers her an unusual contract—sexual companion to a recently relapsed rock star—she accepts.
Amy quickly and gratefully falls into an easy rhythm of control and submission—but it’s not her client who keeps her up at night. Emanuel, lead guitarist and the man who hired her, occupies her thoughts—and soon, her bed. Their connection is intense, and although Amy knows sleeping with Emanuel isn’t what she’s there for—isn’t what she’s being paid for—what’s between them is too strong to ignore. But there’s more to Emanuel than Amy knows, and submitting to him might come at too high a price…

“This is a lovely, sexy story with just the right amount of drama.” –Amazon review, The Submission Gift

9781426899409-COVGame Play by Lynda Aicher

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One night, one time, nothing more. That’s all it was supposed to be. They’d agreed their first night together would be their only night together—and Minnesota Glaciers defenseman Dylan Rylie was fine with that. Giant hickeys and claw marks on his ass had never been his style, even if the very memory of Samantha Yates’s merciless sexual energy gets him hard within seconds. He needs to focus on getting a better contract, not mind-blowing orgasms.

One night, one time, nothing more. Fresh off representing the US at the Games and with nowhere else to play, Samantha gave in to one night of frantic passion with the Glaciers’ brawny hotshot. She couldn’t get hurt—not if she controlled the outcome. And she planned to leave Minnesota soon, anyway. She didn’t expect to be recruited to coach Dylan after they’d gotten down and dirty.

When brutal on-ice workouts lead to kinky locker room sessions and “one night” falls by the wayside, Samantha insists on keeping things casual, despite Dylan’s quiet hope for more. But when Dylan goes down—hard—and his career is in jeopardy, Samantha is the first one by his side. What will it take to keep her there after he’s healed?

Book one of Power Play

“For the sixth consecutive time Lynda Aicher has brought her readers two characters who are interesting, easy to root for yet realistic and flawed.” –Goodreads review, Bonds of Courage

~

9781426899553-COVThe Shade of Temptation by Eleri Stone

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He once controlled her fate; now she holds his heart—and his body—in her hands…

Living in a humble village at the edge of the Sarian Empire, Kailey is a gifted but untrained mage with an affinity for stone. She believes herself well beyond the reach of the guild that controls all magic within the empire until Benim, an unwilling guild soldier, appears at her door. She’s part of his quest to assemble gifted citizens for entrance to University.

As Kailey struggles to navigate the strange society of the Sarian upper class, she’s tasked by a guild master to create a masterpiece for the emperor. And when Benim is commissioned as her model, Kailey comes to crave the hard-bodied soldier she spends her days sculpting inch by intimate inch.

Benim cannot resist the warmth of Kailey’s spirit nor the comforts found within her body, though he knows that a poor soldier has no place in a mage’s world. But he and Kailey will have to overcome more than just class differences in order to remain together. For someone has made Kailey a pawn in her mentor’s ambitious play for power…

Book two of the Spellcraft series

“Her character building is excellent. The details pulled me right into the story. The pacing was–well, I couldn’t put the book down.” –Amazon review, Gun Shy

Click here for more Erotic Romance!

Carina Press Paranormal Romance sale!

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October is full of tricks, treats and spookiness, so we’ve got 10 spine-chilling, creeptastic paranormal titles for just 99¢ each until October 27! Whether you’re into ghosts, zombies, graveyards, or monsters, we’ve got a great read for you that’s less than a buck away. How long will you need to read them all?


 

TWISTED MIRACLES by A.J. Larrieu

(paranormal romance, urban fantasy)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

DANCING WITH DRAGONS by Lorenda Christensen

(dragons, paranormal romance)

CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

ALL FOR YOU by Dana Marie Bell

(angels & demons, paranormal romance)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

QUICKSILVER DREAMS by Danube Adele

(new adult, paranormal romance)

Quicksilver Dreams

CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

REAPER’S TOUCH by Eleri Stone

(dystopian, fantasy, paranormal romance)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

HEAVY METAL HEART by Nico Rosso

(angels & demons, erotic romance, paranormal romance)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

A REASON TO BELIEVE by Diana Copland

(male/male, mystery, paranormal romance)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

MONSTER IN MY CLOSET by R.L. Naquin

(paranormal romance, urban fantasy)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

BITE ME by PJ Schnyder

(paranormal romance, shifters)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

 

NOBODY’S ANGEL by Stacy Gail

(angels & demons, paranormal romance)

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CARINA PRESS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | IBOOKS | KOBO

Visiting Museums for Research

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By Eleri Stone, author of GUN SHY

One of the best things about writing a historical series is all of the research I get to do. I like reading history books, personal diaries and travelogues. There are tons of websites where you can access maps and records at the click of a button. And then, of course, there’s my favorite form of research—visiting museums.

That might be a nerdly thing to admit, but I’ve loved taking trips to museums ever since I was a school girl and saw the enormous whale hanging overhead at the American Museum of Natural History. The Cloisters sparked my interest in the medieval period and touring old sailing ships in Mystic left me with a longing to write about pirates. Now that I live in the Midwest, we’ve visited a lot of old forts, restored villages, living history farms, and train museums. One of my favorite museums out here is the National Mississippi River Museum. They have a really wonderful steamboat exhibit.

I like sharing my love of history with my kids and I think being able to see the artifacts with my own eyes enriches the stories I’m telling too. Writing a paranormal/fantasy that’s set during a real historical time period, I need the historical parts of the story to feel as authentic as possible in order to let the reader really sink into the story. Being able to describe exactly how the light catches an Amberina glass helps with that. Those details are always going to be in the background so it’s easy to dismiss them as not important but I think they are, and museums are a great place to go to gather up all of those kinds of details that the history books miss.

My new book, Gun Shy, let me combine my love of history and a fascination with cowboys into a paranormal adventure story about love and redemption.  You can read more about it here.

Do you like visiting museums? Have a favorite?

CARINA_0914_9781426898891_GunShyBefore the cure, Lieutenant Lyle Dalton’s job was simple: kill the Reapers. Now, under orders to inject all captured flesh eaters with the serum that restores their humanity, his Rangers at Fort Dougan face entirely new dangers. Someone wanted the Reaper cure badly enough to spill blood for it, and Lyle needs to steal it back if he hopes to hold the border.

Jane Fisher escaped Scraper crime boss Gideon Moore with only the clothes on her back. What he took from her can never be replaced, but her new home at Fort Dougan is the first safe one she’s known. Or was, until the remaining supply of serum was stolen, flown high into the mountains on Gideon’s command. Serving as Lyle’s guide through Scraper territory means revisiting her own personal hell, but it’s also an opportunity–for closure or revenge, Jane isn’t quite sure.

Beautiful, proud and haunted, Jane is a temptation Lyle’s worked hard to avoid. The mountains are the last place she needs to be. But if Jane can find the courage to face down a man like Gideon for the sake of the fort, no force on earth will keep Lyle from her side.

Don’t miss Reaper’s Touchavailable now!

Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after.

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Congratulations 2014 RITA Award Finalists!

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Last week the Romance Writers of America announced the nominations for the 2014 RITA® Awards and we’re thrilled to see that two amazing books from Carina Press were nominated! Congratulations to our authors and all of the other nominees! Visit the RWA blog for the complete list.

 

Paranormal Romance
Witch Bound by Eleri Stone
Gina Bernal, editor

Book two of Twilight of the Gods

Raquel Lindgren knows what her future holds. An arranged marriage. A new home in Ragnarok, Iowa, with another clan of refugees from Asgard. She should be happy. But there’s a mental block preventing her from tapping in to her true abilities as a witch. And she’s more attracted to the best man than she is to the groom…

Fen can’t believe he’s falling for his best friend’s future wife. As a hound, a wolf shifter, his duty lies with the pack. He’s seen too many hounds destroyed by love, and he’s sworn never to take a mate, never to have children of his own. He can’t deny his desire for Raquel, but she deserves more than he can offer her.

Raquel’s been raised to trust in magic, her clan and her destiny. But when a vengeful demon threatens to break out of Asgard and destroy the clan, Raquel learns she must trust in love if she is to take the future into her own hands.

For more tales of modern-day Vikings, check out Demon Crossings.

 

CARINA_1213_9781426897603_MineUnderMistleToeRomance Novella
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham
Angela James, editor

Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did notinclude a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London–and all its difficult holiday memories–for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

Starting Over

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I started Reaper’s Touch about three years ago. Some stories you have to work for every word but Reaper’s Touch was easy. Wild West meets bio-plague apocalypse. Cowboys vs. Zombies. The world was interesting, the characters came to me fully formed and whispering in my ear, and the story seemed to practically write itself. So why did it take so long to get here?

After I finished Reaper’s Touch, I jumped right into the second story. It’s a big world and I wanted to explore all of it. But as I started writing that second book, I became dissatisfied with the first. I hadn’t set everything up well enough to support a series. I’d made the story too small, the world too confined. I’d done a disservice to characters I’d come to love.

A new first scene came to me and it was much better than the one I had. From there, I kept going until I had a completely new story. It was a lot longer than the original and a whole heck of a lot better.

It’s funny because starting over is a theme in the book too. For Abby, being a Ranger is the only life she’s ever known and there’s no way out as far as she can see. But she wants better. And that’s the opportunity she’s presented with when she meets Jake. Better. Even though it’s a risk. Even though there are no guarantees that everything’s going to turn out okay. Even though she has to turn her back on the familiar and safe. She reaches for better too.

So, three years. I’m so incredibly excited that Reaper’s Touch is finally out! Have you ever felt like you were waiting for something forever?

***

nullAbby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

***

nullA lifelong fan of fantasy, Eleri started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists and character-driven storylines. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction and they all end with a happy-ever-after.

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The Art of Titling Books

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The original title for Witch Bound was Runed which I thought was a clever play on words because runes are so important to the story. Witch Bound is based on Norse mythology where runes are used not only for communication but also for spell-casting and divination. Raquel is a witch with enormous potential but she has trouble controlling her gift. She’s only able to cast small spells through the use of bind runes. The hero, Fen, is an artist who helps her to design a runic tattoo that allows her to better control her gift.

So…Runed.

I was overruled. In the end, I think it was a good call because titles are supposed to interest people enough to buy the book and Runed really only makes sense after you’ve already read the story.

At Carina Press, what they do when they don’t like the original title is send you a retitle worksheet. They ask for lists of key words and phrases, comparable titles within the same genre and suggested replacement titles. Here’s my keyword list:

1. Runes

2. Wards

3. Witch

4. Hound

5. Gate

6. Power

7. Portal

8. Wedding

9. Clan

10. Magic

11. Demons

12. Hunt

Witch: Enchant, Bewitch, Spell, Bespell, Charm, Becharm

Hound: Beast, Shifter, Hunt, Chase

We came up with Witch Bound which I love because it refers back to the central romantic conflict. Fen is a virgin because hounds are magically bound to the first woman they have sex with and he’s never wanted to give someone that much power over him until he meets Raquel. The problem is she’s engaged to marry his best friend through an arranged marriage that was signed before she was born. So, Witch Bound. It fits well, don’t you think?

Anyone care to test their book titling skills? What would you have come up with?

About the Book:

Raquel Lindgren knows what her future holds. An arranged marriage. A new home in Ragnarok, Iowa, with another clan of refugees from Asgard. She should be happy. But there’s a mental block preventing her from tapping in to her true abilities as a witch. And she’s more attracted to the best man than she is to the groom…

Fen can’t believe he’s falling for his best friend’s future wife. As a hound, a wolf shifter, his duty lies with the pack. He’s seen too many hounds destroyed by love, and he’s sworn never to take a mate, never to have children of his own. He can’t deny his desire for Raquel, but she deserves more than he can offer her.

Raquel’s been raised to trust in magic, her clan and her destiny. But when a vengeful demon threatens to break out of Asgard and destroy the clan, Raquel learns she must trust in love if she is to take the future into her own hands.

About the Author:

Eleri Stone was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Iowa, married her college sweetheart, and settled in the Midwest where she still lives with her husband and their three children. A lifelong fan of fantasy, she started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists, character-driven storylines and guarantee of a happy-ever-after. Writing fantasy and paranormal romance, she is the author of the Lost City Shifters series (shapeshifter paranormal romance), the Twilight of the Gods series (paranormal romance based on Norse mythology) and the Spellcraft series (secondary-world fantasy romance).

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Meet the Lost City Shifters

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Rebellion is Book 3 in the Lost City Shifters series. For those who haven’t read the first two books and want to jump in with Rebellion, I put together a quick and dirty primer to catch you up:

  • The series revolves around the Yaguara, a tribe of jaguar shapeshifters living deep in the Amazon rain forest. For centuries they’ve inhabited an ancient city well outside the influence of human culture and, as a result, the society which has developed is traditional, isolated and based on the premise that strength is the highest virtue.
  • They’re ruled by a King who earned his place in a bloody tournament of succession. That would be Gabriel Alvarez—a half-human outcast who fought his way to the crown, going through the ruling family’s champion, Iada Silveira, and claiming her as his mate in the process.
  • They resent human intrusion into their territory and are distrustful of them to the extent that until Gabriel assumed the throne, taking a human mate was forbidden.
  • Secrecy is of the utmost importance in preserving their way of life. After an earthquake in Peru disturbs a buried temple threatening to expose an ancient tablet that would reveal the location of their home, jaguar shifter Adriano races human archaeologist Sophie Martin and a pack of revenge-minded wolves to get to it first.
  • There’s an ongoing conflict between those who want to deal head on with the reality of human encroachment and a more traditional group clinging with increasing desperation to the old ways.

That brings you right up to the events in Rebellion when Gabriel offers the North American wolf pack a treaty that will allow them to setup a research facility in Yaguara territory in exchange for wolf help in ending the civil war.

Here’s the description:

Cole Brandt is a wolf shifter, sent by his pack to the Amazon jungle to negotiate a treaty. He’s unaware that the kingdom of jaguar shifters he’s meant to meet with has split—and Cole’s suspicion that jaguars are selfish and deceitful is confirmed when he’s seized by the rebel faction.

Taya Silveira, a jaguar shifter and fierce warrior loyal to the king, resents being assigned Cole’s rescue. She doesn’t approve of his pack’s involvement in her jungle—to her, wolves are greedy, weak creatures who will exploit the resources the Yaguara protect.

Struggling against centuries of ill will and prejudice, Cole and Taya must work together to prevent a devastating civil war. They can’t deny their physical attraction—with the heightened senses of shifters, their desires are plain. But if they give in to passion, they may be forced to choose between staying with their tribes, or staying together.

You can find more information about the Lost City Shifters series here and read an excerpt from Rebellion here.

I usually run a $25 gift card giveaway with my new book releases but this time around, I’m going to make a donation to either the Rainforest Alliance or the International Wolf Center. Vote Jaguar or Wolf to help me decide where to send my money:)

About the Author:

Eleri Stone was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Iowa, married her college sweetheart, and settled in the Midwest where she still lives with her husband and their three children. A lifelong fan of fantasy, she started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists, character-driven storylines and guarantee of a happy-ever-after. Writing fantasy and paranormal romance, she is the author of the Lost City Shifters series (shapeshifter paranormal romance), the Twilight of the Gods series (paranormal romance based on Norse mythology) and Threads of Desire (a secondary-world fantasy romance).

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Not out to rule the world

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I grew up reading fantasy and have always been particularly drawn to stories that involve magic. Give me a wizard, mage, or sorcerer and I’m pretty happy. Often these books are about conquest where the magic shown is used almost exclusively in warfare. As a writer, I’ve always wanted to explore magic in a fantasy world that was relatively stable.

That was the seed of inspiration for Threads of Desire. In Saria, the borders of the empire are well-established. The Sarians engage in healthy trade with their neighbors. Power within the empire is balanced between the wealthy aristos, the emperor who controls the standing army and the Guild mages.

The practice of dark magic, any aimed at hurting another person, was outlawed centuries ago. The magically gifted of Saria aren’t vying for world domination. They’re rounded up when they’re young and trained by the Guild in a craft—sculpture, painting, architecture, metalwork, glasswork. The power of the Guild comes not from their ability to inflict mass destruction, but from their ability to create unique and magnificent works of art.

The heroine in Threads of Desire is a master weaver who, because of a falling out with the first mage, wants nothing to do with the Guild. Outside of the Guild’s protection, she’s been living on the streets, trying to earn enough money to leave the capital city. When she captures the interest of an aristo at the Southton market and is presented with the opportunity to start a new life, she grabs onto it with both hands.

Here’s the blurb:
Guild-trained weaver Ily is furious her rival Kal, a smug yet wickedly sexy rug merchant, outsells her at every turn. She knows her magically crafted rugs are far superior to anything he can produce, but can’t compete with his charming personality.

When Kal fixes his lusty attentions on Ily, she is reluctantly aroused by his interest. She knows he desires her and against her better judgment, she wants him too. A chance encounter leads her to make him a scandalous offer: her body in exchange for enough money to leave the city. She sees their time together as a temporary erotic adventure…until Kal reveals that what he truly wants from Ily is more personal–and more dangerous–than bed play. And she must choose between taking her chance at a new life or risking it all for a man she never meant to love.

For more information about Threads of Desire or to purchase the book from Carina Press, please click here.

So, what do you think? Is there room in fantasy for magic that’s more domestic than epic? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Eleri Stone was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Iowa, married her college sweetheart, and settled in the Midwest where she still lives with her husband and their three children. A lifelong fan of fantasy, she started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists, character-driven storylines and guarantee of a happy-ever-after. You can visit her on her website, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

 

Take a Liking to a Viking

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I grew up in New Jersey and moved to Iowa to attend college which is where I met my husband (in a strange but beside-the-point story). And while we’re busy living out our own happily-ever-after here in Iowa, part of me still considers New Jersey my home. New Jersey and Iowa are very different but the one thing they do have in common is that they’re two of the most maligned states in the Union. One is synonymous in people’s minds with pollution, crime families and reality TV. The other with corn, tractors and caucuses. And really those are the kinder generalizations. Now, it might be that I’m just hyper-aware of these things, in the same way that when you’re pregnant it seems like every other woman you see is pregnant too, but these two states get picked on a lot. And I love them both.

I set my new book Demon Crossings in Iowa and I’ve been fielding a lot of “why Iowa” questions. Considering some of the misperceptions floating around about my adopted state, I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain a little bit about the where and why of the setting. Demon Crossings is based on Norse mythology and I wanted to set the story somewhere in America with Scandinavian roots. We love to camp in the driftless area of Iowa (called that because it was not glacierized during the last glacial period). It’s a beautiful, hillier, more wooded corner of the state just west of the Mississippi. It was also settled by Norwegian immigrants who remain very proud of their heritage.

For the story, I wanted a small community bound by a shared heritage. I wanted someplace isolated enough to keep a secret. And I wanted a town that felt completely and utterly mundane even though its people were anything but normal. So…Iowa. Here are some pics to set the scene:

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(Thank you MP Mitchell for permission to use these beautiful photos.)

This is the setting for Demon Crossings. Here’s the blurb:

Private investigator Grace tracks a kidnapped child to middle-of-nowhere Iowa. Encountering a strange creature she knows can’t be a local animal, she doesn’t need her psychic abilities to figure out the sleepy town is not what it seems. When she meets the intriguing Aiden, she’s plunged into a world of Norse gods and fire demons where the Wild Hunt still rides the night.

Aiden needs Grace’s help to cross the portal between worlds and rescue his daughter. Grace is unlike any woman he’s ever met. He’s drawn to her courage, distressed by her vulnerability and doubtful of her motives. But he knows that her visions are the key to defeating the enemy and bringing everyone home alive.

Grace wants a future with Aiden, even if it means she’ll never have a normal life. When a test run to the portal takes a terrifying turn, they must learn to finally trust each other or Aiden’s daughter, and their chance at love, will be lost forever…

If you’re interested in learning more about the parts of Norse mythology I used in the story, I’m running a series of posts about that on my blog here.

Thanks for letting me introduce you to the world of Demon Crossings. Hope you come visit!

And if you’d like to visit me

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So, seriously, tell me what it is about IA and NJ that makes them such easy targets. I know this is not all in my head.