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Fantastic Fables: Loose Changeling by A.G. Stewart

May 3rd, 2015 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 2 Comments »

Beautiful woman sleeping among fairies

Please welcome author A.G. Stewart here today! Her novel, Loose Changeling, is the first novel in the Changeling Wars urban fantasy series. This novel was released on April 1, 2015 from Igneous Books. Please enjoy her twist on The Frog Prince below!

One lucky reader will win a signed copy of Loose Changeling at the end of this post! This is an International giveaway!

**Don’t forget to enter the giveaways running all month long! Click here to check out these great giveaways!**


Nicole, the heroine of Loose Changeling, is a Portland, Oregon native. She’s extremely cynical, very type-A, and a little bit snarky. So you can probably imagine her surprise when she finds out she’s adopted and a Changeling to boot. And the worst thing about her non-human status? Creating Changelings is strictly forbidden by Fae laws. When Nicole has to choose between a lifetime job of kicking Fae back to their world and death, she makes the obvious choice. She likes living.

Still, she sometimes thinks she made the wrong decision…

I held the frog a safe distance from my face.  It stared back at me, its throat pulsing silently, its yellow eyes bright as marbles.

I glanced over its moist-slick back at Dorian.  “You can’t be serious.”

He spread out his hands, palms up. “Would I lie to you?”

I feigned thinking about it. “Yes.”

Anwynn, my grushound, leaned some of her considerable weight against my leg.  For the barest of moments, I thought she was trembling.  Her shoulders shook.  With doggy laughter.  Wonderful.  Whoever said dogs were a man’s best friend had obviously never met Anwynn.

“So if I kiss this frog,” I said slowly, making sure Dorian understood me, “he and his tribe of fairy frogs will move off my turf.”

“Indeed,” Dorian said, crossing his arms. He leaned against the concrete wall of the nearest building. “You are, after all, the head of your own Fae Family, which makes you, for all intents and purposes, a Queen. Royalty. A kiss from you transforms him into a prince—it’s the way things work for his people. Fae magic is quite wonderful.”

“A frog prince,” I said, flatly.

Dorian shrugged and then brushed an imaginary piece of lint from his velvet shirt. More than one passer-by turned their heads to look at him—and it wasn’t his face. Who the hell wore velvet anymore? And with cargo pants? But Dorian, my sometimes Fae informant, never knew how to dress in the mortal world. “Sometimes the fairytales have a grain of truth to them,” he said.

Thank goodness the fairy frog was cloaking himself at the moment. It was better to look like you were holding nothing in your cupped hands than to look like you were holding a huge frog with dew-encrusted wings in the middle of the city.

I took a deep breath. “Look,” I said to the blinking eyes of the frog. Its gossamer wings unfurled, twitching as my breath washed over them.  I had to raise my voice over the sound of traffic. “I just want you out of Portland. This is a weird town, but not frog-fairy weird. You’ve got to go back to the Fae world. I don’t want to force you, and if turning you into a prince is going to ensure you and your tribe can claim the lands you need—then fine. I need you out of this fountain.”

The frog blinked at me. “I understand, Changeling.” His throat filled and then he let out his breath in a sigh. “This is no easy matter for me either. I do not take it lightly. As you see me now, I am merely a frog. Once you bestow your favor upon me, I shall become a prince. It’s a drastic step to take.”

“See?” Dorian said, lifting a hand, as if entreating the heavens. “This isn’t his ideal situation either.”

Anwynn leaned into my leg harder, and I almost stumbled. “Well? Are you going to transform the frog into a prince, or not?  All it takes is one kiss.”

Loose Changeling

“I could just kick him and his kind back into the Fae world,” I grumped at both of them. “I don’t have to do this.” But a part of me was just a tad bit curious. Turning a frog into a prince? That had to be something to see. And it wasn’t like I’d been able to use my Queenly status here in Portland. Most Fae saw me as something of a particularly anal police officer—and they spoke to me accordingly. I wasn’t exactly liked.

“Fine,” I said. “I’ll do it.”

“Oh good,” Anwynn said. “We can add desperation to your many shortcomings.”

The frog-fairy closed his eyes and leaned forward.

I kept mine open, his little green face becoming a blur of shiny, bumpy skin. He smelled vaguely of ditchwater—a combination of mud and rotting vegetation. Quick as I could manage, I pecked him on his mouth. My lips came away sticky and tingling. I waited to see what sort of prince he’d turn into. What would he look like?

But the frog was still a frog.

He turned around in my still-cupped hands. The other frogs rose from the fountain, gossamer wings buzzing.  “All hail the prince!” they cried out.

“I’m going to kill you,” I whispered out of the side of my mouth to Dorian as the frogs cheered.

Anwynn bowed her hairy head, her sides shaking. “You…kissed…a frog,” she managed. “An amphibian. You put your mouth on its mouth. Your human fairytales are almost as dumb as you are.”

Dorian only raised an eyebrow at me. “I never said he’d become a person. You made that assumption on your own.”

“And you let me.”

“What’s the fun in explaining everything, step by step?”

I scowled at him and opened a doorway to the Fae world. The fairy-frogs flew into it, leaving the fountain empty, the world around us unaware of what had happened.

I sighed and tried to rub the taste of magical frog from my lips. I needed a goddamned drink.


Andrea StewartAbout A.G.:

A.G. Stewart was born in Canada and raised in a number of places across the United States. She spent an inordinate amount of time during her childhood reading and remembers often being told to quit reading and pay attention! Her love of fantasy and science fiction began when she was in grade school. She grew up in a family where Star Trek marathons and questions such as “When are you building me that FTL drive?” were the norm. Weekly trips to the library led her to discover authors she still enjoys reading—Peter S. Beagle, Isaac Asimov, and J.R.R. Tolkien. She now lives in California with her husband and a veritable menagerie of animals on her suburban microfarm.

You can visit A.G. around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Changeling Wars Website

Want to read more from A.G. Stewart?

Loose Changeling (Changelin...Changeling on the Job (Chan...Dragon Maiden



This contest is provided by A.G. Stewart!

One lucky reader will win a signed copy of Loose Changeling!

Loose Changeling

Available April 1, 2015 from Igneous Books

About this Book:

When Nicole catches her husband in bed with another woman, she doesn’t just eject him from the premises–she turns his mistress into a mouse.

It’s not as if she meant to. Far as she knew, she was regular-issue human. So she’s mystified (and mortified) when Kailen, Fae-for-hire, shows up on her doorstep the next day, hits on her, and then drops this bomb: she’s a Changeling, a Fae raised among mortals. The doorways between the Fae and mortal worlds have been sealed shut for a millennium, but now are opening randomly at an alarming rate, and mortals are turning up dead. Kailen’s employers believe she’s the only one who can close them.

Nicole would be happy to oblige and get her life back to normal, but she’s developed a magical block. Not only does she fail to turn her husband’s mistress back into a human, she can’t do any magic unless she’s angry–and she’s only angry enough when her husband’s in the room. Before Nicole can say “I don’t believe in fairies,” she’s jumping between the Fae and mortal worlds with her soon-to-be-ex, his mousy mistress, and the Fae bodyguard she’s increasingly attracted to, trying to figure out who’s opening the doorways and why.

And she’d better stay mad and learn how to use her powers quickly, because there’s a price on her head. Any magic a Changeling performs cannot be undone by another Fae, so the Fae have a simple rule for those like Nicole–kill on sight.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fantastic Fables: Marked for Magic by Daisy Banks

May 2nd, 2015 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 7 Comments »

Beautiful woman sleeping among fairies

Please welcome author Daisy Banks! Daisy’s novel, Marked for Magic, was released on April 28, 2015 from Lyrical Press/Kensington. Marked for Magic is a fantasy romance novel. Please enjoy the offerings below!

International giveaway! Two lucky readers will each win an ebook copy of Marked for Magic at the end of this post!

**Don’t forget to enter the giveaways running all month long! Click here to check out these great giveaways!**


I am thrilled to be able to participate in the Fantastic Fables Event. I am offering two copies of my new release Marked for Magic to be given to two people who comment on this post. They will be selected at random by the editorial team of Dark Faerie Tales, so do post a comment.

This post is a little different in that you have the chance to read a section that wasn’t included in the book, Marked for Magic. I’ve been thrilled that several reviewers have said they enjoyed this fantasy world so much they would like to see more of it. This section may well become part of a sequel to Marked for Magic. I hope you enjoy reading it and that it gives you a taste of what Nin and the Mage are like.

An out take section for you to enjoy.

He dashed down the flight of stairs, and yanked on his cloak before he opened the door.

Gods, more trouble.

A small group of the local villagers, stood ranged in a semicircle in the yard. Most of them carried simple arms of some sort. He recognized two, though they clutched their cloaks up to their faces, Simon the headman, and beside him, the stooped and twisted figure of Agnes. The others, he had no idea who of the village community braved the cold tonight.

“What do you want?” He let the full force of his voice and power flow free. This was no time for reticence.

Simon, torch in hand, took a step forward. “We’ve come for the witch. We know she is with you, and she’s done enough damage.”

Interesting. “Tell me, what damage is this?”

“The loss of our own, all down to her spells. The sickness, that’s taken five, the loss of my wife’s sixth month babe, the death of two cattle, and the loss of the potter. All of it due to her.”

He shook his head at the list of her supposed crimes. Where has all this come from?

The gleeful glint in Agnes’s glance gave him a good clue.

Gods, he should simply turn the old hag into a toad.

He squared his shoulders. This called for something fast to shut them up, and show them who would be master here. Though he despised market day tricks, this little crowd would respond to them best. He cast around for something, and the log pile caught his glance.

Over several autumn weeks toil, he had prepared this wood stack, in readiness for the onset of the winter snows. A pity to use it. However, the logs sat conveniently piled, a little way from the tower, and some distance from the horses, that stamped in the small stable.

A moment’s concentration and a swift glance were all it took for the logs to flame. A satisfying gasp from the small crowd pleased him. Simon stepped backwards, and Agnes seemed to shrink in size.

A small sound behind him told him, Tara stood there, and the hiss of the crowd told him more.

This is ridiculous.

Go back inside the tower, bolt the door until I tell you to unlock it. I will deal with this little delegation, and come to you soon.

You’ll call if you need me. Her thought shot to him, and he could sense both her surprise and fear.

Of course, and should you seek some amusement, watch from the window.

Her footsteps sounded on the stone step. The thick bolt ground and snapped into place.

He spoke to Simon, and for now ignored the rest of the group. “Come, we will be warm by the fire, and discuss these most serious crimes.” The effort to keep the amusement out of his voice was huge, for Simon seemed to quake at the enormity of the events they had forced.

The headman passed his torch to one of the others, and moved forward, well within the circle of firelight. The rest shuffled a little closer, but remained in the shadows.

“So tell me in detail, headman, what is the girl meant to have done?”

Simon squinted at him. “She has killed, and killed many. Young and old, and the livestock too, all are dead by her hand.” The voice was not quite so loud or so certain now.

He dismissed the nods and murmurs of agreement from the rest. “Hmmm, has she indeed? Someone has seen or heard her do these things?”

“Of course not, Mage, the wench is a witch,” Simon blustered at him.

“A witch placed within my care.” He said no more, and Simon managed to appear both mystified and belligerent at the same time. “Do you tell me I would not have known she had done these things?”

Simon’s jaw moved as he ruminated and his large hand twisted the hem of his cloak. Finally, after deliberating for several minutes, Simon shook his head in response.

Satisfaction swelled, things were going as he wanted, and the rest would be easy. “So we are agreed, she could not possibly have killed so many.”

Simon, who would not now meet his glance, nodded.

“Do you not know the sickness has afflicted the whole land? More than five have died. I sorrow for the loss of your babe, but cannot see how she could be responsible. Not when her only visits to the village have been in my care, should she have used any magic…” He stared at Simon, and arched an eyebrow. “I would have known.”

Simon nodded quickly.

“I’m glad you agree, now, as to the fate of the missing potter. Ah well, therein lies a story, should you wish to hear it?”

The headman glanced back at the others, who stood cold in the shadows, and nodded when they did.

Marked For Magic

“Oh good. A pity the snow means we can’t sit. Let me do something about it.” He lifted his arm in a wide sweeping gesture, unnecessary of course, but they didn’t know.

This performance is turning into one of my best.

The lying snow blew away at his command. Swirls and eddies of white swept toward the trees to create a clear circle of ground around the blaze.

He ignored the sound of Tara’s giggles in his mind, and sat cross-legged before the fire. The villagers shifted and murmured, fearful now. They were going to be more so by the time he had finished tonight.

Simon wrapped the ends of his scarf around his hands, sat, and he looked around to see the others did too.

He kept his hood well over his face. “Sadly, your five succumbed like so many others to the fever. Is it not so?”

“Aye, Mage. Fever and black boils, two days and my woman lay dead.”

He nodded toward the man who had called out. “You have my sympathy and I share your sorrow. Why did you not come for my aid?”

“You were with her, at the castle.” Simon’s usual, deep bass, voice rose.

“Then, the fault is mine.”

Simon shook his head in response. “Nay, we knew where you were.”

“Oh, I see, but the journey was too far, too long, too dangerous?”

Again, Simon shook his head.

This is going so well. “I see, so you will agree your tragic losses to the fever were natural?”

More mutters followed, and he watched amused as several of them shifted on the ground. None of them had a cloak as warm as his, and they would suffer the chill that rose from the layer of frost. “Now, let us consider the death of your sixth month babe?”

The chieftain bowed his shaggy head, and murmured, “Happened in May, just after we cast the girl out.”

“In May? Then why, by the Gods of the Stones, have you not come to me before tonight?”

This is outrageous. He focused on remaining calm, and stared at the headman.

“We thought t’was natural, women lose babes. But later we thought again,” Simon croaked in a whisper and shifted on the icy ground.

The key to all this was in his grasp, and he could see it. His key, shuffled, uncomfortable on arthritic hips toward the back of the crowd. “I see. Once more, I say I sorrow for your loss and sadness. Should your wife wish for a charm to help protect her next, I will supply it.”

Simon looked up with a grateful smile.

Gods help them. They need all the charms I can give. “Now, as to the cattle?” he asked, and waited.

“Two, stone dead in the water in August.” The voice that called out was firm.

“Hmmm, at the time of the high summer storms, then their death would be quite natural.” He already knew the answer. This one was always a favorite, and he’d not be caught out by it.

“Aye, Mage.” Two or three voices called out at once.

“The mark of lightning was on them?”

He waited while they mumbled and muttered, and he kept his gaze on the crone who backed away further. His time with her was coming, and he toyed with one or two ideas.

While he waited for some response, an even better thought than dealing with Agnes himself struck. He locked it away. When no reply came from them regarding the cattle, he went on. “Now, as to the potter.” He lifted his hands to the warmth of the fire. “That disappearance, good people, is linked to me.”

Sighs echoed around the group.

“The potter shot my apprentice with a crossbow, and I was most angry.”

Their sighs turned to murmurs, which rose into the night.

“As you can imagine, it was most troublesome to have to deal with an injured apprentice.”

Their serious expressions when they nodded, prompted his amusement, and he gulped laughter back in a kind of cough.

You what!

Her thought blasted into his mind, was almost as funny as the crowd’s somber faces. He hid his amusement with a hand to his mouth while he took several deep breaths and regained calm.

I’m supposed to be the one controlling you.

Her silence told him she had blocked her thoughts from him.

Just as well, or he might be reduced to tears of laughter.

“Rightfully, I punished the potter’s temerity, and tonight, he stands as a statue to warn other poor shots, or those who think they can injure my apprentice. You know I spend my time to aid you, and yet, you come here like this. I am disappointed and sorrowful one of you could not have come to discuss any of these matters, or asked for my aid.” He let that settle while he watched all of them turn their heads turn to Agnes.

Now for the kill.

The murmurs rose and fell. He waited until quiet came again. Simon appeared to be unable to speak. “So, who has confirmed to you these deaths were unnatural, and my poor apprentice should be held to blame?”

I’ll give you poor apprentice!

Her fury roared, and he half choked, hid the small cough behind his hand.

These words are for them. Gods I would never let them harm you. They know nothing of you now.

He felt the waves of her sulking, and could not wait to go inside, and begin to make her feel better about all this.

Simon, who stared now in Agnes’s direction, whispered her name and others took up the whisper. The word ‘Agnes’ hissed and echoed up with the smoke from the fire.

The flames had taken well, and he was so tempted to dump the old hag on the top. “Ah, your wise woman?”

Their nods followed his question, and Agnes edged further away to sit much closer to the trees.

“I fear you’ve been misled. I fear Agnes is aged, and what wisdom she had, is now muddled in her mind.” He stared directly at her, and could sense and see her terror.

The fire crackled and snapped, most of the group shuffled a little closer. The fury of Tara romped through his thoughts.

“Wise woman Agnes, tomorrow you will accompany me and my apprentice into the forest. You will see the potter restored, and be healed yourself.”

The rest of the group applauded. Simon seemed grateful to rise from the bitter cold ground, and made him a clumsy bow.

He rose in a swift movement with a dismissive nod. “Bring Agnes here tomorrow, at sunrise.”

Talk broke out among them, and he turned to stride to the door.

A thought to save what might be salvageable from the log pile rose, and with a glance, he doused the flames. A rush of gasps echoed into the night, the villagers were suitably awed. He visualized the bolt sliding back and as it did, opened the door of the tower, ready to begin apologies to his apprentice. From the power of the waves of her anger to hit him, the apologies might take some considerable time.


Daisy BanksAbout Daisy:

Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. She is an obsessive writer and her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married with two grown up sons. She lives in a converted chapel in Shropshire, England. Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing and she occasionally makes a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can visit Daisy around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | TSU

Want to read more from Daisy Banks?

Marked For MagicFirst Frost (Neighborly Aff...Hot Holiday TreatsTimelessTo EternityYour Heart My SoulA Gentleman's FollyValentine WishesSexy To Go, Volume 2A Perfect MatchFiona's WishFairy RockA Matter of Some ScandalThe Witch's MarkDown at the Bottom of the G...Crown for the Fairy Queen, AChristmas Fairy



This contest is provided by Daisy Banks!

Two lucky readers will each win an ebook copy of Marked for Magic!

Marked For Magic

Available April 28, 2015 from Lyrical Press/Kensington

About this Book:

The witch mark on Nin’s hand is a curse. She has no magic powers, whatever the lore says. But the village believes. The old crone’s wisdom is to see her banished. Ragged and hungry, she must serve the Mage. Alone in his tower, she is his chattel. But Mage Thabit is not what Nin expected—the bright green eyes and supple form under his cloak are not the stuff of nightmares, and kindness hides in his brusque heart. Thabit senses that Nin is more than she seems, too. When true nightmares haunt the land, it is precisely her elusive powers that might deliver them…

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fantastic Fables: Pirate’s Alley by Suzanne Johnson

May 1st, 2015 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 30 Comments »

Beautiful woman sleeping among fairies

Please welcome author Suzanne Johnson! Pirate’s Alley is the fourth book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series and was released from Tor books on April 21, 2015. This is a fun magic filled urban fantasy series. Her story below is filled with magic, pirates, humor and Johnny Depp! Please enjoy the story below.

This is an International giveaway! One lucky reader will win a signed book (choice of any of the books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series) if in the U.S. or Canada or a book from Book Depository and a signed bookplate if the winner is outside the U.S! A wonderfully HUGE thank you to Suzanne Johnson for this giveaway!

**Don’t forget to enter the giveaways running all month long! Click here to check out these great giveaways!**


Two Pirates of the Caribbean

By Suzanne Johnson

As told by DJ Jaco, wizard sentinel of New Orleans…

“Hey, babe, I got an idea.”

Uh-oh. Cajun merman Rene Delachaise might be one of my best friends, but his ideas usually ended in trouble. The kind of trouble he enjoyed, which meant there was a high probability of me getting arrested or injured.

“No, I’m not going with you on the shrimp boat.” Last time I’d done that, I’d accidentally set half of Louisiana’s Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area on fire. Then I’d drowned and he’d broken my ribs giving me CPR. Mermen were strong.

“How about going with me to Faerie?”

I stared at him, wondering when he’d begun using drugs. Because he should know that answer: never.

“The fae are nuts, and so are you if you think I’m going there.” I’d never been to Faerie and had only recently met some of the fae leaders. The Faerie Queen was a nightmare and so were the two princes who were vying to succeed her if and when she finally went to the big fairyland in the sky.

He didn’t answer, and curiosity eventually got the better of me. “Why do you want to go to Faerie?”

Rene grinned, his teeth straight and even in his tanned face. He’d begun to let his jet-black hair grow out a little and it was starting to curl over his collar and frame his angular face, accenting eyes such a dark, liquid brown they might as well be black too.

“Since you’re asking, that means you’re gonna do it,” he said, confirming my suspicious that I’d been had. “It’s for the pirate’s birthday tomorrow. I thought of a great present we could give him.”

French pirate Jean Lafitte, a member of the historical undead, would be turning 230 years old, give or take a year or two. He wasn’t saying and I suspected he wasn’t sure himself—in fact, it might not even be his real birthday. But I’d play along.

“What can we give him in Faerie that we couldn’t give him here in New Orleans?”

“Captain Jack Sparrow.”

I stared at Rene, horrified. Yes, I knew there was an outpost of Faerie called Storyland, where fictional characters could be brought to life. I’d heard it described like Disneyland for the fae, who found human entertainment, well, entertaining.

“Jean Lafitte and Captain Jack Sparrow would be a disaster. Jean would kill him within a minute.” Not that Captain Jack was real or could be killed. Of course, Jean was also immortal. It might not get deadly but it could get ugly.

“He loves that first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie,” Rene said. “I been checkin’ up on it, babe. We can order one particular scene for us to be part of, and I know his favorite.”

It might be fun but…wait. “What do you mean a scene for us? I’d be strictly a facilitator.” I could create a transport and take them to Storyland, as long as I had some coordinates, but that was the limit of my involvement.

“You’ll do it. You won’t be able to help yourself.” Rene grinned. “I know you too well, babe.”


Setting up this pending disaster had proven distressingly easy. Rene did some homework and learned that one could make reservations in Storyland via a website, the faeries being the only preternatural species to embrace human technology.

In fact, Faerie Queen Sabine claimed to have invented the Internet, but she would have to work that out with Al Gore.

The morning of Jean’s alleged birthday dawned clear and cool, and the pirate looked to be in a fine mood as he swept open the door of his suite at New Orleans’ posh Hotel Monteleone. He was six-foot-two inches of testosterone-laden Frenchman, dark wavy hair pulled back in a tail, dark cobalt-blue eyes sparkling with mischief or fury, depending on his mercurial temper. Today, only the dagger he wore tucked into his belt and the jagged scar across his jaw line hinted at the violence of which he was capable.

Royal StreetRiver Road

Rene had told him to wear his pirate gear, which for Jean meant a white tunic cinched with a wide black belt into which he’d tucked a muzzle-loaded pistol and a dagger, poured-on black pants, and knee-high boots. I’d pulled my hair into a ponytail and dressed in black from head to toe, and Rene had his usual jeans and an LSU t-shirt.

Mes amis, what is this surprise you have for Jean Lafitte on the likely day of his birth?” Jean looked like a 230-year-old kid waiting for a balloon.

I glared at Rene. “What do you mean the likely day? You don’t know whether or not it’s your birthday?” I knew it.

Jean shrugged. “We did not honor such things in my day, but Rene suggested April 15 would be an appropriate day to celebrate my birth.”

It worked for me. April 15 was tax day, and Jean was frequently taxing. “Fine, let’s just do this. Jean, is it okay if I make a transport in your hotel suite?”

Mais oui. To what place will we be traveling?”

As the leader of the historical undead in New Orleans—famous people granted immortality by the power of human memory—Jean Lafitte had had many years in which to travel around the vast Beyond. Of the preternatural kingdoms, Faerie was the largest and most heavily populated.

“Have you been to Storyland?”

Non.” His brow furrowed. “It is a colony that belongs to the fae and while I have often visited the capital city, I have never visited this land of stories.”

“Today’s your lucky day, pirate.” Rene clapped him on the shoulder. “That’s where we’re havin’ your birthday party.”

I just hoped no one ended up getting lit up like a candle—or a cannon.

Moving aside a coffee table, I used some chalk from my portable magic kit to form the interlocking circle and triangle of a transport. At the time of our reservation, two p.m., I joined Rene and Jean inside it and touched the tip of my finger to the chalk line. I’d use my native wizard’s magic to fuel the transport from this end, but I had my elven fire staff tucked into my backpack in case of emergency. Wizards’ magic often didn’t work in the Beyond.

After a few miserable seconds as we flashed across space and time, we arrived in a shadowy, cobblestoned alleyway that smelled of beer and urine. Kind of like the French Quarter, in other words. Around us were small storefronts and pubs, but sunlight glinted off blue water down a hill from the open end of the alley. A large wooden ship could be seen floating offshore.

Mon Dieu,” Jean said in an awe-filled whisper. “It is Captain Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl. I wish to have her.”

Oh no.


I gave Rene the evil eye as we trailed Jean down the alleyway and through the open doorway of a squat, thatch-roofed building. A motley assortment of men and scantily clad, overly rouged women sat on mismatched chairs and stools and barrels in the gloomy interior. The noise level was akin to the Superdome during a Saints playoff game.

A grubby, toothless man who’d last seen a bath in the Stone Age sidled up to me and clapped a hand on my breast, which lasted as long as it took me to whip my elven staff out of my bag and whack him over the head with it. No point in resorting to magic before necessary.

“Arrrrrrrr,” he mumbled, tumbling to the ground, flat on his back. I bent over to make sure he was breathing and was relieved to hear him snore.

I caught up with Rene, grabbed a fistful of hair, and jerked him within earshot. “Get that damned pirate and drag him back to the transport. We’re outta here.”

“No can do, babe.” Rene shrugged. “We’ve lost him—I think he went into the back room over there with…Never mind. There he is.”

Rene pointed across the barroom, where Jean emerged from a doorway ahead of a red-faced man in a gray tunic. They shook hands, and only when Jean turned and strode toward the exit did I see what he’d been up to.

Elysian FieldsPirates Alley

“Holy crap, he’s got a sword.” That had been the fastest purchase in history. I pulled Rene from the clutches of a buxom redhead old enough to be his grandmother, and dragged him toward the exit. Jean was already out of sight.

“I can’t believe you let that woman grope you.” I punched Rene in the shoulder as we trotted down the alley to keep Jean in view. He was headed for the harbor. “She was gross.”

“I’m a guy, babe. Ain’t much we’ll turn down.”

Yeah, well, even mermen needed standards.

Rene stopped abruptly. “Oh, that ain’t good. That ain’t good.”

Jean had stalked up the gangway to the hulking black wooden ship, its ragged sails hanging limp but its pirate flag flapping in the breeze. He stood at the point the gangway met the deck, nose to nose with Captain Jack Sparrow himself.

Rene and I broke into a run. “Think it’s really Johnny Depp?” I shouted. Maybe I could get an autograph.

“I’m betting that answer would be no,” Rene yelled back, sprinting ahead of me and calling over his shoulder. “Johnny Depp probably don’t use a sword that good.”

Damn it, Jean was going to get himself killed by a fictional character—killed being a relative term in his case.

My undead Frenchman was at least five inches taller and more heavily muscled than his fictional foe, but Captain Jack Sparrow was quick on his feet. And sexy as hell, dreadlocks, black eyeliner, heavy brown leather vest and all. I’d always had a weakness for Johnny Depp, and we all knew my weakness for pirates. Put them together? Trouble.

Rene poked me. “Stop ogling Captain Jack and do something, wizard.”

I shook myself out of my starstruck stupor and reassessed. Both men were breathing hard as they parried back and forth across the deck. Jean shouted in French and Captain Jack Sparrow shouted in an indecipherable, drunken British accent.

Finally, they separated and scowled at each other across six feet of wooden deck.

“What the hell is it you want, mate? You don’t rightly belong here. I am Captain Jack Sparrow, and you’re…not.” he said with a flourish.

Jean raised himself to his full height, his accent growing more pronounced.  “I am Captain Jean Lafitte, the greatest privateer of my age, and a man you do not wish to anger.”

I gave them even odds on arrogance, and apparently they were evenly matched at swordplay. I knew Jean had never lost a duel in his human life; he seemed to have kept his skills sharp, so to speak.

“Well, Jean LaWheat, or whatever your name is, you’re not the greatest anything of my era, mate. Are you looking to join my merry band of pirates?”

“Bah.” Jean spit on the deck, which made me cringe. That had to be a plank-walking crime. “I wish you to take leave of The Black Pearl and allow a true ship captain to assume the helm. Otherwise, I shall be forced to take her from you.”

“Ah….” Captain Jack stroked his beard and finally noticed Rene and me standing behind Jean. “Ah…very well, then, mate. I think we can strike a bargain, if you know what I mean. I’ll give you me ship, and you’ll give me….” He stroked his beard again and his gaze landed on me and stayed.

Uh oh.

“You give me her.” He pointed his sword past Jean and straight at me.

He no longer seemed so Johnny Depp-like. In fact, I had an urge to run like hell. Instead, I tightened my hand around the elven staff and shot Rene a dirty look when he started laughing.

“Shut up, fish boy,” I muttered out the side of my mouth. “I’ll deal with you later.”

Jean turned slowly and looked at me, raising one eyebrow. “An even trade?”

Seriously? I raised an eyebrow in return and twirled the staff in my right hand like a stubby baton. I could zap him with it just as easily as I could hit Captain Jack. In fact, if I got them close together, I could zap them both with one surge of energy. A twofer.

“Tres bien.” Jean turned his back on me and my staff. “I agree to this trade, although I should warn you that the lovely Drusilla is often ill-tempered and often has poor manners.”

Wait a minute. How had this suddenly become a death-ship-for-wizard swap meet?

I’d had enough. With Rene laughing behind me, I stomped around Jean and stood between Pirate England and Pirate France. “Who wants to feel the brunt of my wrath first?”

“Cheeky. I rather like that,” Captain Jack said, leaning toward me. “Let me feel whatever you like, my lovely.”

“Fine.” I shoved the staff against his forearm and gave him a good, healthy zap of elven magic. Not enough to do permanent damage—like that was possible—but enough to send him prancing around the deck like a drunken show horse.

When he finally settled down, Captain Jack had disappeared and in his place was a young man of the same general size and stature and in the same outfit, but with short blond hair. “What the hell are you?” He had no trace of an accent.

“Let’s just say I’m not human exactly,” I said. “What are you?”

“Lady, you’re in Faerie. What do you think I am?”

Right. Faerie.

He held his hands up, did some intricate finger movements, and turned back into Captain Jack. “You have a half-hour left on your deluxe package, mate. Care to spar?”

“Bah, the moment is ruined.” Jean turned his back and started down the gangway to the dock. “We shall drink instead.”

“And you’re buying. See you later, babe.” Rene headed down the ramp after Jean.

Great. I turned back to the faery pirate. “So, can you turn into Johnny Depp for a half hour?” A girl could hope.

Copyright 2015 Suzanne Johnson. May not be reprinted, excerpted or reproduced without permission.


Susannah-Sandlin-Suzanne-Johnson-July2013About Suzanne:

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series from TOR Books. Book four, PIRATE’S ALLEY, was released in April 2015; book five, BELLE CHASSE, will be released in 2016. Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, as well as The Collectors romantic suspense series, both for Montlake Romance, as well as several standalones. She’ll start a new romantic suspense series for Montlake in 2016, beginning with WILD MAN’S BLUFF. She’s been a finalist for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards in both 2014 and 2015. A displaced New Orleanian, Suzanne currently lives in Auburn, Alabama.

You can visit Suzanne around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Suzanne Johnson?

Royal Street River Road Elysian Fields Pirate's AlleyRedemption Absolution Omega AllegianceStorm ForceLovely, Dark, and Deep Deadly, Calm, and ColdChenoire



This contest is provided by Suzanne Johnson!

One lucky reader will win a signed book choice of any of the books in the Sentinels of New Orleans series if in the U.S. or Canada or a book from Book Depository and a signed bookplate if the winner is outside the U.S!

Pirates Alley

Available April 21, 2015 from Tor Books

About this Book:

After vanquishing undead serial killers and discovering the dark secrets of her family history, wizard sentinel DJ Jaco must now stop the coming preternatural war in Suzanne Johnson’s Pirate’s Alley.

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world–the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae–DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal.

Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back. And that’s before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest “death,” returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ’s assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won’t be that easy.

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Event Annoucement & Giveaways: Fantastic Fables 2015!

April 29th, 2015 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 21 Comments »

Beautiful woman sleeping among fairies

Dark Faerie Tales has an exciting month of giveaways and stories planned for the entire month of May! Fantastic Fables is an event where we ask authors to take their favorite fairytale/fable and twist it into their universe using characters from their novels. Please check out the authors we have in store you for all month long! Also, we have several giveaways to enter now!

  • Saving Her Destiny by Candice Gilmer – 2 Lucky winners will each receive a copy of Saving Her Destiny or a backlist title of their choice! This contest is provided by Candice Gilmer. Open to US only!
  • Witches with the Enemy – Barb Hendee – 3 Lucky winners will each receive a copy of Witches with the Enemy! This contest is provided by Barb Hendee. Open to US only!
  • Win the entire Roaring Twenties series by Jenn Bennett – 1 Lucky winner will win the entire trilogy (Bitter Spirits, Grim Shadows & Grave Phantoms)! This contest is provided by Penguin/Random House. Open to US only!


Saving Her DestinyWitches With The EnemyGrave PhantomsPirates AlleyMarked For MagicLoose ChangelingHer Wild HeroNight of the Highland DragonHeart MatesVictory of the HawkThe Silver WitchBite at First SightDark InstinctsEbanThe Shattered CourtThe City BeneathThe Wild GirlWitches Be BurnedUnbearable DesireHunted WarriorNight of the Living Demon SlayerPiercing the DarknessSong of the NavigatorThe Last True VampireThe Talon of the HawkClockwork CrownBlood StitchesWaking the DragonSinger of DeathShards of HopeThe Shadow Revolution



Contest #1 is provided by Candice Gilmer!

2 Lucky Readers will win Saving Her Destiny or a Candice Gilmer backlist title of their choice!
(US only)

Saving Her Destiny

Available June 2, 2015 from Samhain Publishing

About this Book:

Sometimes the future comes knocking. Sometimes it knocks you into next week.

Fairy-In-Distress team member Duncan Molar’s mission is as simple as it is desperate. Find his missing best friend, banshee Cara Wallace, before an assassin lights the magical fuse that will unlock her scream, wiping out the last merrow colony on earth.

Since the day he rescued her from a fishing net, the near-victim of her very first scream, they’ve been joined at the hip, he helping her with her telepathy, she helping him remember the beautiful side of being a fairy.

When he finds her, the crisis isn’t over, for the unreleased scream could kill her…unless he gets her to a remote location and figures out a way to release it safely. The solution blows them so far apart, Duncan’s back to square one. Doing whatever he has to—including sacrificing his job with the FID—in order to save her.

Because secretly, he’s been in love with her for a decade.

Warning: A determined fairy, a banshee-in-distress, and a djinn that will only make matters worse.

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Contest #2 is provided by Barb Hendee!

3 Lucky Readers will each get a copy of Witches with the Enemy! (US only)

Witches With The Enemy

Available May 5, 2015 from Roc/Penguin

About this Book:

The national bestselling author of The Mist-Torn Witches returns to a world of princes and power, magic and mystery, where two women have the ability to reveal the future and uncover the past…

When seers Céline and Amelie Fawe fled Shetâna under threat of death, they vowed never to return. Yet, less than a year later, they are summoned back—to aid the man who once tried to kill them.… The cruel prince Damek is on the verge of closing marriage negotiations with the powerful family of a young noblewoman when his intended’s sister is murdered. To keep the engagement from falling through, Damek must expose the killer quickly—and he needs the seers’ powers to do so. Though the Fawes’ patron, Prince Anton, fears that bringing Céline and Amelie to Shetâna places them in grave danger, he is honor-bound to help his brother Damek. Only none of them is prepared for the peril that awaits them at Castle Kimovesk—for someone in the court is determined to prevent the marriage from happening, no matter how deadly the cost…

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Contest #3 is provided by Penguin Random House!

One lucky reader will win the entire Roaring Twenties Trilogy!
(Bitter Spirits, Grim Shadows & Grave Phantoms)
(US only)

Bitter SpiritsGrim ShadowsGrave Phantoms

Available May 5, 2015 from Berkley/Penguin

About this Book:

From the author of Grim Shadows and Bitter Spirits comes the new Roaring Twenties novel in the series hailed as “Boardwalk Empire meets Ghost Hunters, but so much better” (Molly Harper, national bestselling author of the Jane Jameson series).

Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…

Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.

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Fantastic Fables: Wicked As She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson

April 30th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 6 Comments »

Delilah S. Dawson visits Fantastic Fables with a sweet treat! She has written a piece from the point of view of the villain from Wicked As She Wants. The second novel in the Blud series releases today! Want to know our thoughts on this series? Read the reviews for Wicked As They Come and The Mysterious Madam Morpho by clicking on the titles.


Every morning, Ravenna unwrapped herself from Prince Alex’s Kraken-like embrace and sought solace in her secret chamber in the highest turret of the Tsarina’s palace. She sat before the dead queen’s looking glass and brushed her ink-dark hair a hundred strokes, meditating on what it would feel like to wear the crown.

Mirror mirror

On the wall

When the princesses are dead

I’ll rule them all.

Her reflection’s smile was smug. Although a fortune teller couldn’t tell her own fortune, she’d seen enough flashes of victory in the palms of others to know her destiny would soon be secure: the head of Princess Olga, stuffed and mounted like a stag; bandits stealing Princess Ahnastasia from beside the goldfish fountain three winters ago; a suitcase stuffed in the bilges of an airship. And finally, the ring of succession on Ravenna’s own finger, held aloft at the next Sugar Snow Ball confirmed it.

As soon as the first flakes of snow fell, Ravenna would be queen.

A knock rang against the door, and she carefully schooled her face to show patience instead of rage.


A warrior clad in black leather armor marched in to kneel at her slippered feet. She stared down at his buttermilk-white hair and wondered if his blud would taste of glaciers.

“The Svedish king sends his greetings, my lady.”

“What else does he send?”

The man rose and held out a velvet bag. Ravenna turned it upside down, shaking it until two jeweled earrings fell out onto her lined palm.

“Not the royal jewelry for which I hoped.”

Her tone was as icy as the blue of his eyes.

“He said you might recognize them from the portrait of princess Olgha.” He dropped one more item into her palm. “This, too.”

Ravenna’s hand curled around the jewels and the single fang; finally, proof that one of the two princesses was really and truly dead, just as her vision had foretold.  “And Ahnastasia?”

He knelt quickly, head bowed. She bit back a hiss.

“That’s the bad news, my lady. Her valise has gone missing. She never arrived at the destination. The Svedish king wishes to know how you’d like to proceed, considering the deal has fallen through.”

Swift as a viper, she snatched a knife from the assassin’s belt and flung it at the mirror, where it landed with a musical thud. A spiderweb of cracks spread out around it, fracturing their reflection, each tiny Ravenna more furious than the last. To his credit, the man didn’t flinch, and the sorceress licked her lips and placed one red-enameled claw under his chin.

“And where, pray tell, does your loyalty lie? With Sveden, or with me?”

He gazed up at her, unblinking.

“I am a huntsman, my lady, and my loyalty lies always with the chase.”

She curled her finger, forcing him to stand.

“Then let’s put you to good use.” Her talon traced over the throat of his leather jacket and down his chest to stop right over where his heart would have been, had he had one. She tapped it once.“You will find the traitor Ahnastasia and bring her to me.”

“Alive or dead?”

Ravenna stared into the mirror. The Svedish king had hoped to forge a marriage between his son and Ahnastasia, but Ravenna wasn’t willing to wait for that to happen, had been betting against it from the start. Did she want the deed done quickly, or did she want to enjoy torturing the little brat? She’d spent so long hating the spoiled princess that she wanted to draw out the torture, make sure precious, sweet Ahna understood exactly how much trouble she’d been.

Ever since that day at the festival twenty years ago, when high and mighty Ahna had refused to let the fortune teller work her magic, Ravenna had been plotting a brilliant play against the pathetic excuse for a royal family. From the outside, from the fields and forests of Freesia, the Feodors were as solid as the stones of Muscovy, beautiful and brilliant and descended from the goddess Aztarte herself. From inside, living alongside the weakling prince Alex and standing on the graves of his dead parents, the ruling house was as flimsy as a pack of cards.

But the cards would topple more quickly if the last princess was dead.

“Bring me her heart.” She smiled, licked her lips. “In a velvet lined box. Do so, and I’ll make you the richest man in Muscovy.”

The assassin finally smiled.

“The Svedish king bade me return with your answer, but I find the snow white queen of Muscovy to be the fairest of them all.”


About Delilah:

Delilah S. Dawson is a native of Roswell, Georgia and the author of the paranormal romance Blud series for Pocket, including WICKED AS THEY COME and an e-novella, THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO. The second book in the series, WICKED AS SHE WANTS, and a second novella, THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE, will be out in spring 2013, and her first YA, a creepy paranormal called SERVANTS OF THE STORM will be available in spring 2014. RT Book Reviews has called her “a wonderfully fresh new voice!”

Delilah is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Georgia Romance Writers, and the Artifice Club. You can also read her product reviews at CoolMomPicks and CoolMomTech, where she is an Associate Editor. She’s a geek of all trades, a synesthete, and the sort of person who saw Spawn in the theater and made other people angry by laughing. Find her online at Bring cupcakes.

You can visit Delilah around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Delilah S. Dawson?

Wicked as They ComeWicked as She WantsThe Mysterious Madam Morpho...The Peculiar Pets of Miss P...Carniepunk


This giveaway is provided by Simon & Schuster

One lucky reader will win a copy of Wicked As She Wants

Available April 30, 2013 from Pocket Books

About this Book:

The second book in the darkly tempting Blud series, featuring a vampire princess who embarks upon a dangerous journey to claim what is rightfully hers.

When Blud princess Ahnastasia wakes up, drained and starving in a suitcase, she’s not sure which calls to her more: the sound of music or the scent of blood. The source of both sensations is a handsome and mysterious man named Casper Sterling. Once the most celebrated musician in London, Sangland, he’s fallen on hard times. Now, much to Ahna’s frustration, the debauched and reckless human is her only ticket back home to the snow-rimmed and magical land of Freesia.

Together with Casper’s prickly charge, a scrappy orphan named Keen, they seek passage to Ahna’s homeland, where a power-hungry sorceress named Ravenna holds the royal family in thrall. Traveling from the back alleys of London to the sparkling minarets of Muscovy, Ahna discovers that Freesia holds new perils and dangerous foes. Back in her country, she is forced to choose between the heart she never knew she had and the land that she was born to rule. But with Casper’s help, Ahna may find a way to have it all…

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