Yes, the sixth story in the Antique Magic series just sort of (and sort of not) came out of the blue.
(Before you ask, no, this isn’t the book I was yakking about writing all last month. This is–what started out as–a flash fiction piece that I wrote for an indie blog hop last year. I took it, this year and reworked it into a longer edition which is what’s now available for download. It’s called A Light Yule Problem, and the synopsis is as follows:
The holidays are approaching, the busiest time of the year for Caitlin and Trevor’s antique store. Their goals for the solstice are set and they’re looking forward to a quiet break, if only the enchanted things in their shop, and of the Otherworld will let them have it. Sometimes Christmas really does bring magic! But what kind is it, this time?
If you’d like to check it out, it’s available at several e-retailers for free, via Smashwords for free during their year end sale, and I’ve put it on sale via draft2digital at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and it should be up at Itunes shortly (I hope). You can find all those at this link.
Or if you’d like to support the author with a few pennies Amazon tosses her way, Amazon hasn’t price-matched it so it’s $.99 there. It’s just a little short that I hope you might enjoy. Have a wonderful Yule and Christmas!
I’m making a slight return to what I used to do around here, at least for the moment. I have a guest for you, author Sheri-Lynn Marean who writes paranormal romances I think you might like–and she’s also a heck of an artist. 🙂
On the writing side, I have her soon-to-be released novel on my TBR pile and (a few others that I haven’t gotten around to *hangs head* ) but I’m looking forward to all of them. She’s become a pal, so I invited her over to our little tribal grounds for a chat. I hope you enjoy this interview and look for her brand new release: The Dragon Assassin’s Sunstryker.
Q & A with Sheri-Lynn Marean
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/Author? A: I never thought I’d be a writer, never mind a published author. But I used to imagine characters from books, movies, or TV and wonder what if this or that happened to them. Then in 2008, I read a book that really annoyed me and decided to try my hand at this.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your book? A: Everywhere! TV, Movies, books, while driving, showering, eating, lol. When I decided to write, Vampires and Werewolves were big, but I hadn’t heard of dragon shifters at that time, so I thought up characters that were immortal and could change into dragons. That’s when the Dracones were born. But my kids were very young and after a year I didn’t do much until 2014. Then I delved back in and got serious. I released Dracones Awakening in 2016.
Q: What’s your first published book and what is it about? A: Dracones Awakening. Tierney is an empath who was raised with her father and 2 best friends; Jax and Sami. They’re all immortals, but Tierney, Jax and Sami have a dragon side waiting to emerge once they go through their awakening. It’s painful and deadly, and not everyone survives the change. They fled their world through a magical portal to Earth. But their enemies find them and all hell breaks loose.
Q: What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing? A: Reading, horseback riding & training, kayaking, drawing – I’ve sold my art all over the world, but now I mostly just draw/paint wolves, cats or dragons in honor of my characters. Photography, and of course watching the TV shows that inspire me.
Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? A: I’ve written 15, my 14th is the Dragon Assassin’s Sunstryker which releases Oct 27th. My 15th book Defiant Wolf; Curse Breaker will release in the New Year, and I have a bunch that have been started, or are close to being done, that I plan to release in 2021 as well. It’s super hard to pick just one as my favorite, though Dracones Thaniel (Kitty) has touched my heart big time.
Q: Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
A: 1- Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it. Just do it. Even if you hate plotting or don’t do much, I highly recommend Debra Dixon’s GMC. (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) It will make your characters & story structure stronger. Also, KM Weiland’s Structuring your novel is invaluable. I don’t do a lot of plotting myself, and some books I do more and some less or not at all, depends on the story.
2-Blurbs. Authors hate writing them, but they sell books, and once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier. There are many great resources, but Mastering Amazon Descriptions by Brian Meeks is in my opinion one of the best.
3-Beta Readers! I love mine. They tell me if I’ve messed up something, forgot to tie up a loose end, question things, and generally help tighten the storyline up. The insights they provide are invaluable. If you don’t know how to find beta readers join author/writing groups on FB.
4-Build a street/ARC review team. Mine is on Booksprout now, which makes life even easier.
5- Covers sell, make sure yours is professionally done.
6-Hire a professional Editor! Ask other authors for recommendations, then get a sample edit to make sure you can work with each other.
Q: What do you think makes a great story? A: I like deep characters, not perfect and shiny. They are usually flawed or broken. A good strong storyline with twists, action … a book has to hook me, or I lose interest.
Q: Which Writer/Authors inspire you? A: Sherrilyn McQueen (formerly Kenyon) is my biggest inspiration, then there’s JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Nalini Singh, Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs, Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian, Christine Feehan, Diane Duvall.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: -Claimed by Beast; Son of Loki (A 52 Realms story) -Demon Born werewolf; Cursed & Hunted -Jaden’s story. (2nd book in The League of Supernatural Assassins) Toren & Zeveride -Soroyan & Raven’s Journey -Goldenthorn; Heart of Gold -Kyrian’s Heart -Kateri Genesis Dracones -Demon Apocalypse
Q: What genre are your books? A: Most are dark, steamy, paranormal/fantasy romance with the exception of Primalthorn, it’s not steamy or a romance, and Dragonsworn Guardian is clean with a tiny bit of romance.
Q: What drew you to the genre you write? A: I love the magical elements, the idea of having powers or abilities and the idea that anything can happen. Yet no matter what, they still seem so human.
Q: Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book? (any book you like) A: I’d love Jensen Ackles to play Jax, though he might now be a bit to old for my 21 yr old character, so possibly Tyler Hoechlin? I think Poppy Drayton with long wavy back hair as Tierney. Kit Harrington with dark, shaggy blond hair as Sami. Chris Hemsworth would be Zander with shoulder length black hair. Josh Holloway with long silver/blue & blond hair as Kyrian. And Steven Amel with dark brows, dark whiskers, and shoulder length black hair as Soroyan. Dylan Sprayberry with long pale blond hair as Thaniel. (Yes, I love Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Arrow, GOT and so many more of these wonderful fun shows. lol)
Q: Do you write full-time or part-time? A: Full time as much as possible. My 2 youngest are still at home.
Q: What is the hardest thing about writing? A: Focusing on writing and not the marketing or everything else that has to be done to release a book.
Q: Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres? A: I don’t read as much as I’d like anymore, and I’ve gotten pickier in what I read as my time is valuable. If it doesn’t hook me right away, then I find myself thinking about everything else I should be doing. So, I mostly stick to my favorite authors, which are the same ones I listed in a previews question. I read Paranormal Fantasy and UF romance, the darker the better.
*nodsnods* I hear that. There’s never enough time–especially with Nanowrimo around the corner. But we look forward to your new release.
The Dragon Assassin’s Sunstryker.
As a genetically engineered dragon shifter created to be an assassin … Treya knew nothing of soulmates.
She fought hard to emerge as one of the league’s best—only the best survive. She may not have friends, but she had food in her belly, a roof over her head, and the assurance that the lives the League ended deserved it.
But did they really?
When she began to question her orders, the director gave her a brother—a hostage to keep Treya in line. It worked, for a while. Now time is running out and Treya realizes she needs help. But who can she trust?
After being alone for over a hundred years, Ash felt it the moment his realm was breached. By a female. He couldn’t see her but knew she was staking out his lair for nefarious reasons. Yet his dragon was drawn, hungry, and eager to claim this stranger as mate regardless of her intent. Only, what did he have to offer? He was dying and filled with a need for vengeance against a brother who’d wronged him.
As the enemy draws close, choices need to be made. Can either of them overcome their past in order to have a future, possibly a shot at love?
Get it now, and soar through the realms on an adventure that will twist your heart and leave your breathless.
For fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian, Nalini Singh, Dianne Duvall and Christine Feehan.
Here’s a sample, for your reading pleasure. Or, of course, you can read the sample at Amazon.
Icarus League Assassin Compound
Despite the early hour, Treya—assassin number TRA237A—couldn’t help but grin at her sparring partner. Like a well-oiled yet deadly duo they danced in the middle section of the training center. Surrounded by countless others doing the same, Treya ducked her rival’s jab and threw one of her own. As genetically engineered dragon shifters, she and Jared were a good match, even if he stood a foot taller than her. Rumor had it that all the dragon shifters in the compound shared the same sire. Treya didn’t know if that was true or not and it seemed a bit of a stretch to believe. Not that it mattered. Unless they had the same birth mother, they weren’t raised as siblings. Instead they were groomed to be rivals. At twenty-six years of age, the same as Treya, Jared had become a worthy opponent with a well-toned, muscular build. He was also very fast. They had never been friends—one didn’t have friends here—but they did have respect. Her respect for designation JA3R33D grew when he and his four siblings who’d been raised in the same pod recently picked names. As supernatural beings created to be assassins they weren’t supposed to have names, so it was a big chance they’d taken. But it was a risk that Jared and his siblings seemed to have accepted. Treya supposed it helped that she and her brother Jacey had done the same thing and hadn’t been punished too badly. Well, if one considered her assignments tripling not too bad. After pitching a fit and running her ragged, the director and his bonded mate Avalonia—Ava—chose to ignore what Treya and Jacey had done. Unfortunately, Jared not only got a heavier workload, but also a public flogging. Treya supposed it was meant to be a deterrent to others and wondered if it would work. Or would they just attempt to keep things secret instead? Either way, annoying their creators was never a good idea—there was no telling how they’d retaliate. Jared grimaced when Treya connected with his face. They may be a product of the director and Ava’s twisted experiments, but they could be hurt and did feel pain. As proved when the smooth skin of his cheek broke open and blood covered them both. Within seconds he began to heal. As they picked up their pace, some of the others stopped sparring to watch. A gleam in his blue eyes, Jared grinned back at Treya. “I’m going to take you this time.” “Bring it.” Treya invited with a smile. Fists and legs flew as his body contorted in ways a normal human would never have been able to do. But they weren’t human—they had a beast inside of each one of them. Treya and the J-K siblings, along with many others, had a dragon while some of their cohorts had wolves or large cats, or were a combination of such. Yet, despite Jared’s swift attack, Treya’s gift—one of many—allowed her to anticipate each move he made a split second before it could happen. Jared was one of only a few of her peers who could keep up with her. Somewhat. Jaden, who she often referred to as his evil twin—created two seconds later—was another. Still, no one, not even the trainers who had years of experience could take Treya now. Not since the day she’d turned sixteen. All her life Treya had been assured that her targets were bad people who needed to go away for the greater good. But she’d begun to question that theory, and then was sent to eliminate a family of five. Three of which were young children. Treya couldn’t do it. But when she tried to quietly slip away, her target’s guardian caught her. A literal giant, he had powers she’d never come across before. She’d also never fought so hard in her life. Treya finally managed to get away, but the disaster had left her shaken. That incident became a major turning point in her life. Not only in supercharging her warrior skills, for Treya was determined to never be at anyone’s mercy, but also because it was when she discovered that her ability to teleport extended beyond the realm she stood in, which was a rare gift. If she hadn’t escaped that day Treya was pretty sure she’d have ended up dead. The director was furious that she’d bungled her mission, but when ordered to go back and fix it, Treya refused. In retaliation for her obstinacy, the director and Ava gave her a brother. Someone to love and also a hostage to ensure Treya completed her missions and returned to the compound. Except, their creation didn’t turn out as planned. There was some sort of flaw in Jacey’s DNA. Which didn’t bode well for her brother. As an extremely vain male, failed experiments looked bad on the director. Of course, Ava’s constant whispering in the director’s ear didn’t help matters either. A flutter in the back of her mind alerted Treya to the presence of two newcomers that she’d never come across before. One had the feel of a very powerful, yet dark-souled being with a deadly vibe. The other just felt like pure evil skimming over her very existence. With an inward shudder, Treya fought the urge to glance up at the reflective one-way window on the second floor. She couldn’t see into the director’s office, so why bother? Instead she swiped at a lone strand of black hair that had fallen in her face and wished they could have been using swords instead of fists today. She’d started with her black mane tied back, but it never stayed that way. She should have braided it, and would have, but hadn’t expected to be in the training center quite so early. Now she wondered if their guests, whoever they may be, were the reason they’d all been called out to spar this morning. Although knowing Avalonia, it could just be that the bitch was in a mood. Treya didn’t normally react so strongly to others unless there was trouble or danger, which begged the question, who was up there with the director and his consort? She could feel her creators anytime they were near, which was often. They constantly watched—evaluating each and every one of their subjects and plotting new ways to either try and break them or make them stronger, tougher, invincible. Their goal? Turn them all into assassins that couldn’t be killed and would follow orders to a T without any questions. Deadly automatons that could neither think nor act without instruction. The director and his consort had begun to achieve their dream and now had a number of zombies wandering around the compound here on Icarus. But their makers success had come only after countless hundreds of casualties. Treya didn’t know how many assassins had been turned into mindless raging maniacs needing to be put down or contained in a padded room, but it was a lot. Too many if you asked her. Still, most of her cohorts were too worried about their own hides to care. The thought of either option, being lobotomized so she couldn’t think for herself, or contained for life in a dark room, made bile rise in Treya’s stomach. She’d rather die than spend the rest of eternity locked up or as a mindless drone. And now, these new arrivals sent a shiver of dread down Treya’s spine awakening a deep sense of foreboding. Why or of what, she had no clue. Jaden, Jared’s twin, darted in and tagged his brother taking his place. Treya advanced cautiously. Jaden would never hold back and if he ever caught her, he’d easily and happily take her apart. As one of Ava’s pets, he hated Treya with a passion. Though in all fairness, he seemed to hate everyone equally which made Treya wonder what the director’s consort told him. Treya tried not to let her distraction of the newcomers get in the way, but still ended up a fraction of a second too slow. Jaden landed a punch that knocked her back a few feet. On a human it would have left her with broken ribs or at the very least, bruised and aching. After the initial bite, the pain faded. A hint of satisfaction flickered in his eyes for just a moment, then they blanked. They went a few more rounds, Treya careful to keep out of his way. Then she saw her chance and went on the offensive. Jaden flew back and landed on his ass. Treya moved out of the way, ready for him to retaliate. “Jaden!” Jared snapped a warning. The twins appeared to be locked in a contest of wills. Then Jaden let out a breath and it seemed as if he acquiesced to his brother. Jared pulled Jaden to his feet. “You good?” Jaden nodded but didn’t say a word, then together the twins did all they could to take her down. Treya tried to focus solely on the two oldest J-K siblings, knowing she’d pay for it if she didn’t, but a sense of urgency had begun to slowly consume her. An ear-piercing whistle rang out—time for swords and knives. With a grin, the youngest J-K sibling at twelve years old saluted Treya. “I always learn so much watching you.” “You don’t do so bad yourself,” Treya said. She liked Jordie and unlike everyone else, she didn’t taunt or put down the younger trainees but rather built them up. Plus, Jordie was a good kid. Too bad he didn’t get to be a kid. “Treya, catch!” She turned to find a sword flying straight at her. Jared grinned when she grabbed it by the hilt. Treya spun it around, slicing through the air, aware of Jaden studying her, looking for any weakness. Jaspar, an eighteen year old J-K sibling joined the brothers. Warmed up and ready, Treya waited as they all converged on her. Her heartbeat picked up and within seconds she got into a rhythm. She was more than proficient at most weapons, but the sword was her favorite. Yet as she danced another quicker beat, parrying and thrusting, the eyes watching from above weighted on her like a dirge eating at her soul. It left her feeling off-balance. The sense of impending doom quadrupled when a tiny boy who looked completely out of place wandered in and sat down on a bench along the wall. Jacey. At ten, he was the youngest child in the league compound. Treya and Jacey had the exact same DNA, yet Jacey couldn’t shift into his dragon. Nor was he growing as he should have, a fate that landed him beyond the bottom of the soldier ranks. Those like her brother never lasted long, and Treya knew it was only a matter of time before the director decided Jacey was more trouble than he was worth—even as a hostage. It didn’t matter that her brother had a brain that could rival the smartest of them all—no one saw anything but the fact he looked seven instead of ten. Treya’s heart lurched. He appeared so solitary and alone. No one would go near him in fear they’d catch his affliction. Sadly, it was more a sense of self-preservation—to be seen as weak was a death sentence. While Jacey’s sad existence never failed to break Treya’s heart, it did strengthen her vow to take him away from this place. To give him a better life. But first she had to get rid of the collar around his neck that held him within the compound. Treya had been working on gaining the trust of the technician who oversaw Jacey’s containment collar. She’d feigned interest in learning about the various pieces of tech. But the human wasn’t very trusting and Treya couldn’t really blame her. Trust didn’t come easily to anyone here. Somehow she’d figure it out, even if she had to use force and pain as that was only one barrier to their escape. The second was the tracking device buried deep within her flesh and that of every assassin here. Each night for the last two years, Treya spent a bit of time trying to locate where the trackers were monitored. She’d searched every level and room of the compound except one—the personal quarters of the director and Ava. Treya figured it had to be there, but the building was heavily guarded by bloodsucking vampires—day- and nightwalkers—and for some reason she couldn’t break the wards to teleport inside, and she was really good with wards. She didn’t know everything about how the trackers worked, but over the last two years she’d been testing them, and soon realized that they let the director know when she left the compound and again when she returned. It seemed they couldn’t track her in real time, likely due to the fact that the assassin league operated throughout all fifty-two realms. Treya had learned however that the trackers had around a four hour delay. She’d tested that out and found it took a good four and a half hours before the assassin sent to retrieve her showed up. So, if she kept moving, it would make things much harder for anyone trying to locate her.
Bio: As a kid, when Sheri-Lynn wasn’t bringing home stray animals, she used to pretend to race horses around the yard. As a teenager, that dream became a reality when she started working with racehorses. At the same time her love for reading kicked in. No matter what, Sheri-Lynn always had a book on hand. A few years later she discovered her niche in the vivid and exciting paranormal romance and fantasy worlds. But in 2008, after reading a story that annoyed her to no end, Sheri-Lynn almost fed it to her dog. Don’t panic, she didn’t, that would’ve given the poor animal indigestion. Instead, she challenged herself to create her own stories. Inspired by her favorite authors and TV shows, Sheri-Lynn decided upon immortals who change into dragons. Tierney, Jax, and Sami came to life, and the Dracones were born.
Looking back, this wife to an extremely patient husband and mother of three amazing humans, and more pets than she needs, realizes it all started with a high school essay. A short piece on racing her little Arabian mare bareback around a training racetrack under a starry sky with the full moon reflecting off the pond. The sound of hooves thundering, and the night breeze on her face … Sheri-Lynn’s now published twelve books–stories with deep, complex characters, and rich vibrant worlds that leave you breathless and wanting more.
Just popping in to add another. I’ve been working on revisions for a new book, lately, as well as some other stuff (non-writing), mostly just refilling the well, as it were. But, I wanted to put this here, for those of you still following this old blog, instead of the new one.
Everything about it is just delightful! I think my narrator, the talented and charming Rachael Beresford, did a fantastic job. I hope you will enjoy listening to the tale as much as we enjoyed working on it!
Ahem, the audiobook is 6 hours and 2 minutes and is available at Amazon, Audible, and Itunes, should you like to add it to your audiobook collection. 🙂 If you wish, you may listen to a sample here:
For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.
London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.
Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?