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Event write up: #OrionBlogFest

15 May

IMG_7955At the end of April I attended the #OrionBlogFest. I felt very lucky to be among the bloggers and booksellers in attendance and it was brilliant to hear first-hand from the teams at Orion, Gollancz and W&N about the exciting new fantasy and sci-fi books that are coming out in the next six months. The teams’ enthusiasm for their authors and books was impressive and infectious and as a result my wish list has grown massively!IMG_7963

The event started with fab Stranger Things themed food and cakes – look at the cakes!!Then it was into one minute pitches for upcoming releases. These were so much fun and the addition of a timer and buzzer kept everyone on their toes.

Here are my hot picks from those pitched:

IMG_7957The House of Shattered Wings series by Aliette de Bodard (out now)

The second book in this magical urban fantasy series The House of Binding Thorns has just been released and both books sound excellent!

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital. House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls. Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall . . .

The Switch by Justina Robson (18th May) IMG_7958

Science, magic and politics come together in the pursuit of a perfect ‘model’ society. I can’t wait to read this one!

In Harmony, only model citizens are welcome.

A perfect society must be maintained. The defective must be eradicated. For orphans like Nico and Twostar, this means a life that’s brutal, regulated and short.

But Nico and Twostar are survivors, and when they’re offered a way out of the slums, they take it.

Unfortunately, no one told Nico the deal included being sentenced to death for the murder of one of Harmony’s most notorious gang leaders.

Or that to gain his freedom, first he must lose his mind.

IMG_7959The Falcolner trilogy by Elizabeth May

I can’t believe this was the first I’d heard of this series – it sounds right up my street! The final book, The Fallen Kingdon will be out in June so I grabbed a copy of book one (pictured) and I’m looking forward to starting it soon.

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

Crosstalk by Connie Willis (10 August 2017)crosstalk

Described as Sliding Doors meets Rainbow Rowell, this one went straight onto my wish list!

Briddey is about to get exactly what she thinks she wants . . .

Briddey is a high-powered exec in the mobile phone industry, overseeing new products from concept (‘anything to beat the new apple phone’) to delivery. And she works with her wonderful partner, Trent. They’ve been together for six magical weeks, in a whirlwind of flowers, dinners, laughter and now comes the icing on the cake: not a weekend away or a proposal but something even better. An EDD. A procedure which will let them sense each other’s feelings. Trent doesn’t just want to tell her how much he loves her – he wants her to feel it.

Everything is perfect.

The trouble is, Briddey can’t breathe a word of it to anyone (difficult, when the whole office is guessing) until she’s had two minutes to call her family. And they’re hounding her about the latest family drama, but when they find out about the EDD – which they will – they’ll drop everything to interrogate her. And it might just be easier to have the procedure now and explain later.

The race is on: not just for new, cutting-edge technology, but also for a shred of privacy in a public world and – for Briddey – a chance for love at the heart of it all.

IMG_7961Three other books to look out for coming later in the year are: Sweet Dreams are Made of this by Tricia Sullivan, a book about Dreamhacking – the ability to enter someone’s dreams and influence them, which is out in September;  Mirror Mirror by Clara Delevinge  and The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (proof pictured), both out in October. I’m so excited for Autumn reading already!

We then got to hear from three authors about their exciting new releases;  Joanne M Harris, Dan Vyletta and Ed McDonald made up a fabulous panel and it was so interesting to hear them speak about their books and their writing.

Following a book grab, pizza and signing break we were treated to a skype interview with  Kristen Ciccarelli whose gorgeous proof (above) was one of the highlights of the evening for me and was exclusively revealed to us at the event.

As a child, Asha’s mother told her ancient, forbidden stories to drive away her nightmares – and the telling of them killed her. And when Asha repeated those stories, they summoned an ancient dragon which almost destroyed her city, and left Asha horribly scarred. Ever since, she has protected her city and people (and tried to make amends) by dragon-slaying. And now she may have a way to both atone for the deaths she caused and to escape an arranged marriage: her father will free her, in exchange for the head of Kovu, the ancient dragon. And the only obstacle in her path is a defiant slave-boy . .

The night ended with a bookish quiz and I went home one very happy blogger. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Stevie and the team at Orion for putting on such a fab event. Look out for more details of #GollanczFest coming soon and do share which books you’re looking forward to in the comments below!

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Book news: New Covers for Rae Rivers’ Keepers Series!

30 Apr

I’m a big fan of Rae Rivers’ urban fantasy/paranormal romance series The Keepers so I was very excited to see that HarperImpulse has given the trilogy a fab makeover. In the new covers we get to see Keeper brothers Ethan, Archer and Declan on the front of their books for the first time! Here they are in all their glory! If you’d like to try the series, the prequel, The Keepers: Sienna is FREE to download!

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The Keepers is a Paranormal Romance series with a unique premise consisting of a powerful witch with three warrior brothers, the Keepers, duty-bound to defend her.  They are her friends, her fierce protectors and her allies in maintaining the balance of nature.

An evil rival family is out for revenge, determined to tip the balance in their favour.  Sienna and her Keepers will do whatever it takes to stop them.  

Will their strength, loyalty and love survive the ultimate war?

Archer Water Image

Each book can be read as a standalone romance, or for a richer reading experience, the books can be read in order:  Sienna (The FREE Prequel), Archer, Declan and Ethan.

Three brothers, four stories, an exciting adventure of magic, mayhem, and breathtaking romance.  

Download your FREE eBook, Sienna, and enjoy their world!

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Rae Rivers is an avid reader with a passion for writing spicy romance novels.  She writes Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romances.  She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband and children and a zoo of house pets.  Besides writing, she loves family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and chocolate.  

She loves to hear from her readers and can be found here:

www.raerivers.com Facebook Twitter Instagram Wattpad Goodreads Pinterest

Ethan Air Image

Guest post: The Challenge of Writing Sizzle (When you’re used to Sweet) by Inge Saunders

9 Apr

Today I’m welcoming Inge Saunders to One More Page to talk about the challenges that she faced when writing her latest novella, The Wolf’s Choice. Inge lives in the biggest small town in South Africa‒ Worcester. She fell in love with books when she started reading romance novels with her grandmother. Intrigued by the worlds books unlocked, it was inevitable she would take pen to paper. She holds an Honors degree in Community Development and Learning Support and loves to sink her teeth into the research part of a story.

When she’s not writing about that ‘inexplicable attraction’ she’s reading almost every sub-genre in romance out there, spending time with friends and family and taking hikes in her hometown’s National Karoo Park.

Inge SaundersAs with all things in life, trying something new does bring its own set of challenges. And going from writing sweet contemporary romance to more spicy paranormal romance wasn’t the exception.

I remember at one point I did a post on my Facebook Author Page on the research I’d done on ‘how to approach writing a love scene’. Don’t worry I won’t do a recount here *smile*

But what is the challenge of writing sizzling instead of sweet? Romance is romance after all. There can’t be much difference between the two. And right there, I would lose my reader. Because a sweet romance reader is looking for something different than a reader who prefers a more sizzling read. As an author with a deep respect for readers (because I’m a reader myself) I sat back and dug deep to understand the complexity of the challenges I’m going to face as I tell the story.

The Wolf’s Choice is my first foray into romance that sizzles. It also forms part of a bigger world, The Black Hills Wolves, created by Heather Long and Rebecca Royce for Decadent Publishing. So I had to keep the requirements of the series in mind and stay true to what the creators had in mind of for it. And since the inspiration for the novella started off in my imagination with these two innocent teens meeting at the local Swimming Hole, I knew that I’m going to have a problem if I kept to my ‘old’ style of sweet romance writing (even though the scene when read on its own is sweet).

I think it’s good to note at this point that I don’t just read sweet romance. The romance books I buy range in heat levels, but I usually gravitate towards the stories that contain a happy medium. And that’s the crux for an author who’s going from a ‘clean’ read to a much hotter one. The first challenge you’ll face is to ask yourself, where’s my comfort level with the hotness-factor? Once you’ve established this, you’ll know whether you’ll be able to write a romance that sizzles or have to completely abandon that writing path.

The second challenge, I found, has to do with language, what words to use? Do you want to be graphic? What do your favorite authors use when they tackle a love scene? And most importantly, what type of language is used by the authors contracted for the series/line you want to write for? If the language is an issue for you, then don’t. To force is a crime *smile* and no one likes to be forced to do anything. I’ve read authors who use the words dick, pussy, etc. in such a jarring way that I stopped reading the story. To me, they are out of sync with their characters. If your heroine has never throughout the book even thought of sex or referred to her body parts in her mind or in the dialogue in erotic terms, then goodness why are you now suddenly having her using those terms? The language becomes jarring.

That’s something I had to study in The Wolf’s Choice. A woman with sexual experience wouldn’t necessarily be coy about sex. Though we all know it’s not that cut and dried, characters, like people are complex. (And this you’ll find out about my heroine Rebecca, when you read the story). But there are certain universal things we all accept and don’t about characters in novels.

So language is a definite challenge when writing a sizzling romance.

Don’t lose the plot. No seriously, don’t. Essentially you’re telling the story of two people falling in love and the obstacles that keep them from doing that. As a romance writer that’s your first priority. Don’t get bogged down by how hot your book’s supposed to be. Or by what page number your characters should have, at least, kissed. Or made love.  And don’t write love scenes as fillers. Some publishers might compromise story because sex is the subject of that imprint. But you have to keep in mind that at the heart of every romance is the emotional bond between the hero and heroine. The emotional bond adds layers to the sizzle and the sizzle in your story should advance the plot.

The important thing to acknowledge is that you’ll face challenges as you go along, but to not allow them to keep you from telling your story.

Thank you Inge.

The Wolf’s Choice is out now in ebook formats.

Find out more about Inge and her writing at:

Blog: https://ingesaunders.wordpress.com/

Books by Inge Saunders: http://bit.ly/1defI54

Twitter: @saunders_inge

The Wolf's Choice_1800x2700“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you’ll support my choice of mate.”
Drew sank into his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”
Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.”

Thirteen years ago Rebecca Ferguson died, at least to everyone in the Black Hills territory. With a human mother and unable to shift into a wolf, Magnum Tao, the deranged alpha of the Tao Pack would’ve had both her and her father killed for deceiving him. Magnum didn’t allow humans to mate with members of his pack.
Now Magnum is the one who’s dead, and Rebecca can return.
But coming back from the dead, building a new life after her divorce, and opening a library in town aren’t the only obstacles Rebecca faces. Elijah, her father, doesn’t approve of her being in Los Lobos to the point where he forbids her to get involved with the pack, especially the males.
Their relationship has suffered because of her absence and she hopes to bridge the divide, confident that she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement with anyone human or wolf, anyway.

In walks sexy private detective Blaine Walker.
Thirteen years ago Blaine stumbled on his mate at the local swimming hole. The next day, she was dead. Once he learns Rebecca is alive and living in Los Lobos, he decides it’s time to give up his career in Brooklyn and return to the Black Hills. But he knows it won’t be easy to claim her since Elijah’s unnaturally overprotective. The only way Elijah will back off is to challenge him.

A challenge that will end in one of their deaths.
The Tao Pack’s rebuilding itself and needs to guard against any threats outside or in. For Blaine to have any chance to claim Rebecca, Elijah needs to be dealt with and to deal with Elijah, Drew, the alpha of the Tao Pack, has to sanction the challenge according to pack law.

Rebecca can’t deny the old attraction she felt for Blaine is still there and even stronger now that they are grown up. She’s caught between the man fate has brought back to her and her father, whose affection she’s craved her whole life.
But there’s a secret governing Elijah’s erratic behavior that can cost Rebecca everything she’s worked hard to build and everything she thought she could never have with a man or wolf.
Will Rebecca and Blaine beat the odds stacked against them?
Or will the choices they make ultimately lead them down a path both of them don’t want?

Book review: The Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

13 Jan

promise of fire“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a travelling circus. She is actually an exceptionally powerful Magoi – known as the Kingmaker – who can divine lies. But Cat has no interest in using her powers – or in being used for them – and stays under the radar, far from the clutches of her power-hungry homicidal family.

An ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, Griffin, is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her – then does everything he can to coax her to help his people willingly.

Cat has worked hard to avoid the dangerous destiny she fears is in her blood but the balance of power in their world is shifting. The old magics are no longer all-powerful and there’s a new, ferocious force at work. To survive, Cat will have to explore the true depth of the powers she’s spent so long running from – and perhaps even learn to work with her enemies . . . .

Amanda Bouchet’s debut, A Promise of Fire is the first book in The Kingmaker Chronicles trilogy, published for the first time in the UK by Piatkus this month. The Kingmaker Chronicles are high-fantasy romances set in a world divided by those who have magic and those who don’t. I love the cover for this UK paperback edition – it captures the sense of the book perfectly.

Immediately, as I started reading I was thrown into a new world and I enjoyed the vividness of Amanda’s descriptions of the travelling circus where we find Catalia, known as Cat living as a soothsayer. The pace of this story is great and its soon clear that there’s more to Cat than she’s letting on and this sets the anticipation high right from the start as she encounters the hulking Griffin and knows he wants more from her than just his fortune!

Fans of mythology will love that this novel is packed with gods, goddesses, omens, oracles, fantastical creatures and magic. Bouchet has created a vivid and detailed world in which to set her story that links directly to the Greek/Roman mythology creation story (you can read more about it here: http://www.amandabouchet.com/origin-of-thalyria.php). I’m a huge fan of mythology so it was exciting to find a new novel that played into that world. If you’re a fan of Nora Roberts’ Guardians trilogy, I’d definitely recommend that you check this series out.

Cat is a feisty, quick and clever character and I liked her straight away – her inner dialogue made me smile and I enjoyed how Amanda Bouchet slowly revealed more about Cat and the worlds she lives in as the story progressed. There is never a dull moment!  Griffin is Cat’s enemy but he’s nicely drawn as an enemy she (and us readers) can love to hate and Bouchet builds the tension beautifully between them with lots of spiky banter and high action scenes.

I really enjoyed this book – it’s original, action packed and fun. The strong mythology coupled with compelling characters, a gripping story line and a good dose of passion make A Promise of Fire a quick and exciting read and an excellent start to a new fantasy series.

4/5

The Promise of Fire is out now in paperback and ebook formats from Piatkus.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

For more information on Amanda Bouchet and The Kingmaker Chrionicles, please visit: https://kingmakerchronicles.com/ or http://amandabouchet.com/

Book news: The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

3 Oct

You might notice a bit of a theme developing in my posts this month – for me October is all about magic and mystery. I plan to share many magical books with you this month so when I saw this book earlier today I added it straight to my wish list. It covers two of my favourite reading subjects (witches and New York) just in the title so it’s got to be a winner right?!

Ami McKay is the bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure. I absolutely love the sound of this novel and isn’t the cover fab? The Witches of New York is released on October 27th by Orion.

witches of new york

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (Moth from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student andgardien de sorts (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients. All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment.

Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

Find out more about Ami McKay and her writing at: http://amimckay.com/

Cover reveal! Who’s Afraid Too? By Maria Lewis

2 Sep

I loved Maria Lewis’s fab debut Who’s Afraid and was very excited to hear that Maria has lots of books planned for this series so today, I’m very very happy to be taking part in the cover reveal for book two! Who’s Afraid Too? will be out in Australia in January. We have a little longer to wait in the UK but that just gives you plenty of time to read or reread book one ;-)

WHO'S AFRAID TOO cover

 

Book Two in the bestselling Tommi Grayson series is a gutsy, fur-flying, feminist read for fans of urban fantasy and strong heroines. If you love Darynda Jones, Keri Arthur, Kelley Armstrong or Harley Quinn, don’t miss Maria Lewis!

 After the sh*t show that was her family reunion, Tommi needed to get gone. Leaving Lorcan behind, she’s spent the last few weeks trying to understand her heritage – the one that comes with a side order of fur as well as her Maori history and how she can connect to it.

But she can only escape for so long – when an unspeakable evil, thought long destroyed, returns, Tommi needs every bit of the skills she’s learned. With the help of allies both old and new, it’s time to take the fight to the enemy . . .

Find out more about Maria and her writing at: http://marialewis.com.au/

Giveaway! Who’s Afraid? goody bag to be won!

12 Jul

Who's Afraid

I’m kicking off the Who’s Afraid? blog tour today! Earlier I shared my review (I love this book!) and now, thanks to the lovely Nazia at Piatkus, I have a brilliant giveaway for you – honestly, I wish I could win this!!

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The prize is:

  • A Who’s Afraid tote bag with the cover of the book on it
  • A pair of skull earrings just like the ones worn by Tommi in the book
  • A signed copy of Who’s Afraid
  • #JoinThePack beer mats
  • Artwork images inspired by the book

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To be in with a chance of winning this gorgeous bag of treats just leave comment in the box below or re-Tweet one of my tweets with the link to this post or like one of my posts about this giveaway on my Instagram page. I’ll pick a winner using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Sunday 16th July.

Good Luck!

Book review: Who’s Afraid? by Maria Lewis

12 Jul

whos afraidMeet Tommi Grayson: she’s all bark . . . and all bite

‘It was like my wolf had been there all along, waiting for me to tap its hand and step into the ring . . .’

Tommi Grayson’s never exactly been a normal girl. Bright blue hair, a mysterious past and barely controlled rage issues have a way of making a woman stand out. Yet she’s never come close to guessing who she really is . . .

When her mother dies, a shattered Tommi decides to track down her estranged father. Leaving Scotland for a remote corner of New Zealand, she discovers the truth of her heritage – and it’s a whole lot more than merely human.

Barely escaping with her life, now Tommi must return to her her friends, pretending everything is normal, while all too aware of the dangers lurking outside – and within. Worse still, something has followed her home . . .

With the clock ticking, can Tommi learn to control her new powers in time to save the ones she loves?

Pay attention urban fantasy fans – Maria Lewis is a name you’ll want to remember. I’ve just finished reading Maria’s debut, Who’s Afraid?, and I have just one word -wow! Maria has written a fast-paced, dark and action packed urban fantasy with a brilliant romance thread that is set in New Zealand and Scotland.

Tommi Grayson is one of my favourite heroines in a long time; she certainly isn’t afraid and I loved her intelligence, her quick tongue and no-excuses attitude to survival and the life changing events thrown at her in this book (and her blue hair – I’ve always wanted to try blue hair!).

Tommi works as a gallery assistant and lives with her friend Mari in Dundee. It was great to read an urban fantasy that is set in the UK and somewhere outside London. So much of the urban fantasy that I’ve read is set in America and the Scottish setting combined with the tying of a significant part of the plot to New Zealand and Maori culture, Who’s Afraid gives a refreshingly fresh take on the werewolf genre.

There’s a fair amount of mystery to the story as the book opens. Tommi’s Mum has recently died prompting her to try to find out more about her absent father. The truth about her Dad is just the first in a long line of shocks and surprises for Tommi – including the fact that she is actually a werewolf! As Tommi begins to uncover the truth about her family and who she really is she meets the mysterious Lorcan – a guardian figure sent to train and teach Tommi about her newly discovered powers.

I thought the mythology of the story was very well done; Maria obviously knows her stuff and I loved how ancient history and past events were woven into the story. The supernatural world that Tommi finds herself part of exists alongside our own world and the two mix well to create an exciting book that feels very now. Mari has truly created a world in her story and this gives massive potential for follow up books –  a whole series I hope!

For quite a big part of this book I wondered if there would be a romance element at all. There is so much going on in the story that I didn’t feel the romance part was needed and I was completely caught up in Tommi’s training and her coming to terms with her new identity. But slowly and surely a spark of romance ignites in the story and when it did, it got hot fast! Maria certainly knows how to build the tension and the sense of attraction is heightened by the action of the story. I can’t wait to see how this thread develops in future books.

Who’s Afraid? isn’t scared to be bloody and frank when it comes to the darker side of the war that Tommi finds herself in. The finale had me on the edge of my seat and I did not want the story to end! Do stop by again later today when you’ll have chance to win an amazing goody bag including a signed copy of the book!

5/5

Who’s Afraid? is released on Thursday 14th July in paperback and ebook formats.

Check out Maria’s website to read the first chapter, see the amazing art that goes with the book and find out about the events that Maria is doing in the UK this summer: http://marialewis.com.au/

 

Guest post: My top 10 witches and vampires in literature by Marie Anne Cope

6 May

Today I’m delighted to welcome Marie Anne Cope to One More Page to share with us her favourite witches and vampires in literature. Marie lives in Wrexham and is also a yoga teacher. She will be appearing at Wrexham Carnival of Words tomorrow, 7th May. Bonds is Marie Anne Cope’s debut novel, the first of four novels centered around the powerful relationship between Becca Martin and Anthony Cardover. She has also written a short story collection, Tales from a Scarygirl. Welcome Marie Anne!

Marie Anne Cope AuthorWitches and vampires, the subject of my debut novel Bonds, are a constant source of fear, fascination and wonder.

They are elusive, endearing, engaging and enigmatic. But, at the same time, they are also dangerous, destructive, deadly and devious. They seduce you, they draw you in, they overpower you, they take over your mind, they take away your willpower, and you let them.

So, with this in mind, here are a few of my favourite witches and vampires in literature, starting with the spell-casters themselves.

Circe the Greek goddess of magic from the Odyssey by Homer

Some say Circe is the ultimate witch and certainly a sorceress to be reckoned with. She is self-sufficient, sexually alluring and expert in the areas of potions and herbs.

She also wields a wooden staff, which she famously uses to transform whomever she wishes into an animal, usually a pig. This emasculating tendency is rumoured to be payback for a broken heart.

The Weird Sisters from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

‘Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble’

The eerie repetition of this line, in the opening scene of the Scottish Play, sends a shiver down your spine and is, arguably, the first thing that pops into your head when you think about witches.

Fear them, because if they can convince battle-hardened and ambitious Macbeth to do what they want, think what they could do to you!

The Witches of Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

Although there are four witches in Baum’s classic story, it is Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, whom everyone remembers.

In contrast to her green skinned, broomstick riding silver screen persona, Baum’s Elphaba (pictured) has a single all-seeing eye, carries an umbrella and makes it her mission to avoid water.

Despite her weakness, she still manages to inspire fear and wreak havoc before her watery demise.

The White Witch, Jadis from The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

With Jadis, C.S. Lewis takes witches back to their position of villainy.

With her disarming beauty, charm and sorcerous power, she epitomises the terrifying evil witch. Match this with her tendency to turn those who displease her to stone and Jadis stands out in the literary world of witches.

Beware – do not be fooled by a person’s beauty, as it may only be skin deep.

Hermione Grainger from the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

Last, but by no means least, we come to Hermione Granger, ‘the brightest witch of her time’. With Hermione, Rowling redeemed the witch and erased the negative historical implications and gender bias.

Nothing phases Hermione, except the possibility of getting expelled for breaking the rules. She is courageous, gifted, kind, witty and always prepared.

Now, it is the turn of the enigma that is the vampire.

Lord Ruthven from The Vampyre by John Polidori

The first and, arguably, most influential of modern vampires is Lord Ruthven, the archetype of the ruthless, charismatic and sophisticated vampire. Polidori is said to have based Ruthven on his pale, languid and over-sexed patient, Lord Byron.

Polidori’s creation remains timeless and has spawned countless more, all sired in Ruthven’s image, as is the vampire way.

Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer

Originally a penny dreadful, totalling over 1,000 pages, Varney the Vampire was the first vampire novel published in the UK.

It is based on the adventures of aristocrat, Sir Frederick Varney, a hapless vampire who is usually exposed as such before he has chance to make his kill.

The tales are cheap, lurid and melodramatic, but the Victorians loved them.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla is said to be the most interesting of all vampires, possessing the ability to shape shift and feed on her victims in her black cat persona.

Although known for the savageness of her attacks, her technique changes when she finds Laura, to one of seduction, as the first ever female vampire falls hopelessly in love.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

With Dracula, Stoker took a ruthless and bloodthirsty historic persona – Vlad the Impaler (pictured) – and incorporated him into a character and a novel whose themes of demonic possession combined, with undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord with the Victorians and defined the most influential vampire in popular fiction.

For me though, Dracula is, without compare, THE best love story ever written.

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Lestat is a complex character. Whilst endearing and charming, he is selfish and quickly bored. If you spark his interest, you will be spoiled. If you don’t…..

In Interview with a Vampire, he is shown in all his selfish and monstrous glory, yet in The Vampire Lestat, we see a fun loving, altruistic and, in the end, heroic side to him.

Lestat epitomises the alluring yet dangerous dual nature of the vampire.

Thank you Marie Anne – what a fab list!

bondsBonds is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Half the village of Breccan lies dead – slaughtered. All that stands between Antony Cardover and his freedom is his wife, Isabella, or so he believes. In his wrath at his wife’s adultery, Antony trades his soul for the chance of vengeance. His price? An eternity as a monster – a man bearing a vampire curse. To stop him, the curse must be broken. To break the curse, Isabella and all her descendants must be destroyed. The catch? Only Antony can break the curse.

With Breccan in mourning and Antony on the rampage, only one person can help. Anna Martindale, a witch shunned by the villagers, entombs Antony within a stone sarcophagus, bound by spells and buried in hallowed ground for the rest of time. Breccan breathes again. Time heals. That was four hundred years ago. Seventeenth century spells, however, are no match for twenty first century living. As Ramply Homes moves in, the secret of St Martin’s churchyard prepares to move out.

As the church is desecrated, the spells that hold Antony break. Soon, Becca Martin, a descendant of Isabella, is plagued by dreams of a time and a man she cannot possibly have known. As her nightmares become real, Becca has no choice but to contact the one person who will be able to help; someone she has not spoken to in a decade – her mother. Here, Becca discovers the truth about her ancestry and is forced to face up to whom and what she is. Only a wooden box and her gift hold the key to her survival. Four hundred years ago Antony failed. He will not fail again.

Guest post: Writing the Villains by Rae Rivers

7 Apr

Today I’m very excited to be celebrating publication day for one of my favourite paranormal romance authors! Rae Rivers was one of the first authors I read when HarperImpulse launched and I love her Keepers series which just gets better and better.

Rae’s an avid reader and writer with a passion for writing spicy romance novels. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her gorgeous children and husband and a zoo of house pets. Besides writing, she loves family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and chocolate. The Keepers: Ethan is out today and to celebrate Rae has joined me to talk villains! Happy publication day and welcome, Rae!

Author Phot (2)Writing the Villains

When I first created Sienna, I knew she was a powerful, modern day, good witch coming to terms with the full throttle of powers she’d inherited from her grandmother.  But I also figured that a woman of her status and magical abilities would meet great adversaries and would need some serious back up.   And so the concept of the Keepers was born – three warrior brothers duty-bound to protect her with their lives.  Together, they protect the balance of nature and the innocent people of the world.  And yes, they’ve faced many villains throughout the series.

Who are the villains?

I played on the concept of good vs. evil and developed a story about an ongoing feud between three families:  The Bennett brothers (The Keepers) and the Beckham witches (Sienna) vs. the Brogan family (the villains).  

The Brogans are a group of evil magical witches and warlocks who love to flaunt their magic in a world where it’s forbidden (their magic is a secret).  Their aim is to expose themselves and others like them, to cause havoc with the balance of nature and to control the innocent humans by using fear, violence and magic.  

But Sienna and her Keepers are determined to stop them and maintain the balance – hence a lot of conflict between the two families throughout all four books.

So what makes a good villain?Villain

There’s a variety of traits that make up a good villain so my list can be added to but here’s a basic idea:

  • He (or she) has an opposite goal to the hero and heroine – this makes for great conflict!
  • He has to be convincing and realistic – create a villain that a reader will loathe or fear if faced in real life.
  • He should be smart and vindictive.
  • He should try and outsmart the hero and heroine at every turn – and frequently succeed.  (Again, more conflict!)
  • Not a necessity but it helps to have a few beefy sidekicks at his side – and offers more opportunity for even more conflict.
  • He should come across as interesting and compelling.
  • He has a background that backs up his villainess.
  • He has a real or valid goal – and we don’t have to like it.
  • Everyone has a weakness so it’s important that villains do too.  And it’s up to the author as to how – and if – this weakness will be used against him.  (Always a fun opportunity to create some havoc between the hero, heroine and villain.)

There are many more traits to consider so feel free to add them in the comments section.  I’d love to hear what you think makes a good antagonist in a story!

Thanks for reading,

Rae Rivers

Series cover


For more information about Rae and her books, please visit:  www.raerivers.com

Rae loves to hear from her readers and can also be found at: WattpadFacebookGoodreadsPinterestTwitterInstagram

The Keepers: Ethan is released today by HarperImpulse in ebook format.

Ethan Cover“Going to Ameera to find Hazel.  Stealing the spell … You think you can pull it off?” he asked.

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

Just as she thought he’d kiss her, he reached for her jacket and said, “Then let’s go.”

A portal to another world has opened, unleashing dangerous creatures on earth.  A dark witch is out for revenge.  The stakes are high, a war inevitable. 

One person can stop the madness.  Jenna.  She’s a Keeper to a powerful hybrid witch but she harbours a secret and if Jenna steps through the portal – seduced by the whispers of her hidden past – she may never return.

Fortunately, she has company … infamous Bennett brother and fiercely protective Keeper, Ethan. Their whip-cracking banter makes them perfect sparring partners in training, but how will they manage when their lives and everything they were born to defend are on the line?

When the battle lines are drawn, will Jenna and Ethan stand side by side – as friends, protectors, lovers … or as traitors?