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I Belong

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.

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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.

“Enter.”

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.”

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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 www.delilahsdawson.com. 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

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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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Fantastic Fables Giveaway: Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

April 27th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 12 Comments »

Fantastic Fables is almost over and it is time for one last giveaway! Hot Blooded is the second novel in the Jessica McClain series and was just recently released on April 23. Hot Blooded is the follow up to Amanda Carlson’s Full Blooded.

One lucky reader will win a Kindle copy of Hot Blooded. A huge thanks to Amanda Carlson for this giveaway!

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About Amanda:

Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a BA in both Speech and Hearing Science & Child Development. She went on to get an A.A.S in Sign Language Interpreting and worked as an interpreter until her first child was born. She enjoys playing Scrabble to an unhealthy degree, shopping trips to Ikea and has a great weakness for tropical beaches. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three kids.

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

Want to read more from Amanda Carlson?

Full BloodedHot BloodedCold BloodedBlooded (Jessica McClain, #...

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This giveaway is provided by Amanda Carlson!

One lucky reader will will a Kindle copy of Hot Blooded

Available April 23, 2013 from Orbit

About this Book:

It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge — but Jessica is playing for keeps.

Because she’s the only female werewolf in town…it comes with its own set of rules…and powers.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

All in a day’s work for a girl.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties…

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fantastic Fables Giveaway: Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright

April 26th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 10 Comments »

Fantastic Fables continues today with another giveaway! Wicked Cravings is the second novel in Suzanne Wright’s The Phoenix Pack. This novel was released on April 16, 2013 and follows the novel Feral Sins.

A huge thanks to Suzanne Wright for today’s giveaway! One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of Wicked Cravings.

_________________________________________________________________________________

About Suzanne:

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something, whether it was stories, poems, or even songs – though I can’t carry a tune. I only have one rule when I’m writing a book which is that it has to have a happy ending. Other than that, pretty much anything goes. I write stories that I would enjoy reading and then I just hope that others will enjoy them too.

I was born and raised in England where I live with my husband (a person who doesn’t judge me for hearing voices in my head – how often do you come across people like that?), my two demanding children, and my eight year old American Bulldog who still thinks he’s a puppy.

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

Want to read more from Suzanne Wright?

Feral SinsWicked CravingsHere Be Sexist VampiresThe Bite That BindsFrom Rags

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This giveaway is provided by Suzanne Wright

One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of Wicked Cravings

Available April 16, 2013 from Montlake Romance

About this Book:

Despite having been besotted with Dante Garcea since she was a child, wolf shifter Jaime Farrow figures that it’s time to move past the crush. If he wanted her, he wouldn’t have ignored her flirtatious behavior, right? Hiding her intense attraction to him isn’t easy – especially now that they’re part of the same pack again – but with bigger issues to worry about and with the submissive wolf act to maintain, Jaime is resolute on moving forward. Now if only the workaholic control-freak would let her…

As the pack Beta, Dante doesn’t have the space or time in his life for a relationship. As such, he ignores his intense hunger for the willful – and sometimes crazy – Jaime. Yet when her flirtations abruptly end, Dante finds that he doesn’t like losing her attention. He finds something else too – Jaime’s hiding something. Determined to uncover her secret, he sets out to break through her defenses, even though being around her intensifies his cravings for her. What he finds is a problem that Jaime is convinced not even a powerful Beta can solve.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fantastic Fables: Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti

April 25th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 1 Comment »

Fantastic Fables continues today with a fun zombie/Disney twist. Dana Fredsti’s new novel Plague Nation was released on April 9, 2013. Plague Nation is the second novel in the Ashley Parker series following Plague Town. Please enjoy the story below!

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“Sleeping Beauty’s castle?”   Gabriel gave me an amused sideways glance as we jogged down Main Street, our pace steady even as we vaulted over and dodged around souvenir carts lying on their sides and body parts scattered around like party favors.

I nodded, not losing pace. “It was my favorite Disney attraction when I was a kid.”

“Funny, I would have figured you for a Mister Toad’s Wild Ride type of girl.”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong,  I liked that too.”

A moan sounded to my right and I turned as a Mickey Mouse character actor lurched out the doorway of the Hall of Presidents, oversized gloved hands reaching for me.

“Sorry, Mickey,” I muttered, lopping off his head with my katana.   He/she crumpled to the ground, off to Disney character heaven.

Gabriel, in the meantime, dispatched a pair of male pre-pubescent zombies with matching Florida, The Sunshine State T-shirts.  I wondered if dying in the Happiest Place on Earth had made their deaths any easier.  Somehow I doubted it.

“First time my parents brought me here was when I was three,” I explained, whacking the head off an emaciated female zombie. “The first thing I remember is my mom lifting me up and pointing at the castle. It was at night, lit up, and pure magic.”  I smiled at the memory even as I leapt over the fallen corpse wearing a red and white striped shirt and white trousers, a bloodied white straw boater next to its head.

“And the reason we’re heading there now?”

“I haven’t been back since they re-opened the interior,” I confessed.  Then I shrugged.  “Would you rather go to Small World?”

“Point taken.”

We resumed our rapid job towards Fantasyland, moans from behind us rising on the brisk Santa Ana wind blowing through the amusement park.  We’d gotten separated from the rest of the wild cards when our jeep had broken down in Anaheim, and somehow Gabriel and I had ended up in the Disneyland parking lot with a  veritable swarm of zombies on our heels.   We needed a place to hole up long enough to change the batteries in Gabriel’s radio and contact the rest of the group and I’d suggested (okay, fixated on) Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  And considering the amount of walking dead behind us on Main Street, as well as those trickling out in a small but steady stream from the wood fortress gates of Adventureland, it didn’t seem like a bad idea about now.

We dashed over the bridge leading to Fantasyland, Sleeping Beauty’s castle dead (hah) ahead of us.  The blue topped pink and white spires of the castle rising against the relentlessly clear blue sky were somehow less magical than I remembered.  Probably something to do with the smell of rotting corpses instead of the fragrance of popcorn, cotton candy and fried food.

We were almost through the arched entranceway into Fantasyland when my lead foot hit something slick (a banana peel, hunk of stray intestines, I don’t know what), my foot sliding out and out from under me in the type of pratfall reserved for Warner Brothers cartoons (and shouldn’t that be illegal in Disneyland?).   Before I had time to register just how embarrassed I was gonna, the back of my head slammed against the pavement and the lights went out.

***

My eyes fluttered open.  Pain shot through my head as a bright golden light shone into my pupils. I groaned and quickly shut my eyes again. I wondered just how hard I’d smacked my head in that fall.

“Princess?” A gentle hand stroked my hair back from my forehead. “Princess Aurora?” Gabriel’s voice, but sounding oddly filtered.

Aurora?

Princess?!

I opened my eyes again, shading them with one hand so I could adjust to the unnaturally golden glow shimmering through an arched window above me.

“Are we in the castle?” I asked, struggling to sit up even as a wave of vertigo swept over me.

A strong arm wrapped around my shoulders, cradling me in a warm embrace. “Shhh… you must not tax yourself. You’ve been asleep for a long time. ‘Tis only natural you should feel dizzy. ”

‘Tis?

Tax myself?   

My gaze flickered up to the face of the man holding me.

At first I was relieved to recognize Gabriel’s familiar denim-blue eyes, but then I looked at the whole picture. His nose, which normally looked as though he’d gone a few rounds in the ring, was picture perfect straight, and his short hair was now shoulder length and fell away from his forehead in improbably perfect waves, glinting gold in the equally improbable golden rays streaming in from the window.  I looked at the rest of him. His Kevlar vest and long-sleeved black shirt had been replaced by a dark green tunic and brown doublet.  I could only guess what was below the waist at this point.

Then I noticed the canopy bed-frame above me. Rich pink and gold velvet fabric hung in decorative swags all around the bed.  From the feel of the mattress, there had to be enough feathers to clothe a buttload of geese.

I sat up, trying to shrug off Gabriel’s arm even as he tried to hold me in place.  “What the hell is going on, Gabriel?”

He looked confused. “Who is Gabriel? ” Then his gaze darkened. “Did he come before me?  Did someone dare to wake you before I, Prince Phillip, fought my way through the thorns and the revenants guarding your sleeping beauty? Have you been–”  he paused dramatically.  “—violated?!”

Did I mention WTF?

I reached out and grabbed the front of his doublet with one hand, trying to ignore the sheer white silk sleeves billowing around my wrists. I yanked him forward, nose to (uncomfortably and unfamiliar perfect) nose.

“Where are we?”

His oddly—and undeniably– vapid blue eyes widened in confusion.  “Why, Princess … we are in the castle of your father, the King.”

“And yondah lies da palace of my faddah,” I shot back, “but that still doesn’t answer my question.”

He took my hands in his, gently disengaging them from his medieval lapels. “Princess, it is obvious your long sleep has caused more than a little confusion. I fear you may be suffering from a brain fever. Lie back, I pray, until I can summon physicians to examine you.”

The sounds of moans cut me off in mid-eye roll.

“Shit.”

Gabriel’s – or Phillip’s – eyes widened in shock. “Princess Aurora!”

“What? You’ve never heard a woman swear before?”

He frowned. “The legends spoke of you as all things gentle and becoming in a woman.”

My eye roll made it all the way around this time.

“Whatever.”  The moans sounded again, lots of them, echoing through who knew how many rooms.

“Look, Prince Charming—”

“Prince Phillip. Charming is my cousin.”

I so didn’t have time for this.  And neither did Prince Whatever-the-hell.  I was obviously dreaming or hallucinating, but either way there were zombies and I wasn’t about to ignore the sounds of the hungry dead headed towards us.

“Fine, Phillip.” I figured agreeing was the fastest way to shut him up. “But we need to get out of here now.”

Shoving the eiderdown cover off of me, I swung my legs out of bed and stood, nearly tripping on the mass of fabric swathed around my torso and lower limbs.  Who the hell wore stuff like this to bed?

More moans and the sounds of shuffling steps closing in on the entrance to the room.  The large wooden door looked solid, but I had no intention of staying in here until they eventually pounded through it.

“Princess, you really should stay prone until—”

“Is there another exit?” I ignored “Phillip’s” ineffectual efforts to get me to lie back down, smacking his hands away as he fussed at me. Where were my clothes?

I spotted a huge, ornate wardrobe on the opposite wall, gobs of silver and mother-of-pearl plastered all over it.  I threw open the door eagerly, only to have my hopes at finding my combat gear waiting for me completely dashed.  Velvets, silks, satins, pearl and lace trim up the wazoo … a veritable costumer’s wet dream.  I would have happily killed for Kevlar.

I turned to face “Phillip,” nearly tripping on my skirts. “Do you have any weapons?”

The frown on his face brightened into a proud smile as he took a step back and dramatically unsheathed a really shiny sword hanging from a leather and gold scabbard at his side.

“Of course!” He brandished his impressive looking broadsword in a heroic pose. “T’was with this blade I hacked my way through the thorns to reach your bedchamber and claim you as my bride! Speaking of that, I thought a spring wedding would–”

“Yeah, well, we’ll talk about that later,” I said hastily. Fists now pounded dully against the bedchamber door.  “First we have to make it out of here alive?”

“Phillip’s” unnaturally handsome face showed genuine confusion. “What are you speaking of, Princess?”

“Are you totally deaf?” I exclaimed.  “Aren’t you hearing the moans and the pounding? Don’t you know what that means?”

He shook his head, pity clouding his features. “Ah, my poor Aurora… you have nothing to fear from your family and servants.  They are but waking from their long sleep now that the spell has been broken, and no doubt wish to greet you with love and joy.”

“And appetite,” I muttered.

“No doubt,” he agreed.  “They have not eaten in over a hundred years.”

Great.  Really hungry zombies.

The door started pushing inward from the weight on the other side. I dashed over to it, excess fabric bunched up in one hand so I wouldn’t trip again.  A quick examination showed there was no way to lock it from the inside.  Kind of creepy when you think about it.  I mean, asleep for a hundred years in an unlocked room?  No thanks.

I grabbed a nearby chair; a heavy thing made of dark wood, and dragged it over, propping it under the door knob and shoving the door shut again.  Phillip watched with a mixture of bewilderment and concern that made me want to hit him upside the head.  Even more than I’d kill for Kevlar, I’d commit murder to have Gabriel back as himself instead of this Magic Kingdom substitute.

Even with the chair, the zombies on the other side were pushing it open, inch by inch.  “Help me hold this,” I snapped.

Phillip shook his head, the look of condescending pity now ascendant.  “Princess Aurora,” he said in the sort of soothing tones reserved for crazy people and children having screaming tantrums, “You are distraught.  Look, it is your father himself come to greet his beloved daughter.  Won’t you let him in?”

I followed the direction of “Phillip’s” pointing finger and saw a rotting hand, one greenish black finger weighed down by a heavy gold and emerald ring. Definitely a ring fit for a king.   A stinking, rotting, hungry king.   The hand reached for me, skeletal tips sticking out from sloughing off flesh clutching at the front of my nightgown.

“You see?” Phillip said. “He shows his love.”

Never mind the father issues the real life (did I just think that?) Aurora must have had if this was how “Daddy” showed his affections.  I was out of patience and just about out of time; the door opened another inch and the former king pushed arm further in.

I seized Phillip’s sword, ignoring his shocked yelp, and hacked down on the king’s wrist.  One chop was all it took (Phillip obviously took care of his weapons) and it tumbled to the ground, the ring making a thunking sound as it hit the granite floor.

Phillip yelled again, this time in horror.

Finally, I thought.  He realizes what we’re up against.   

The door opened another half foot or so and I turned to him. “Now help me close this.”  At least that’s what I started to say, but was cut off when he grabbed my wrist, wrenched the sword out of my hand and hissed, “Your long sleep has driven you mad.  You have grievously injured your father!”  He turned towards the door and the zombie, clad in tattered royal purple velvet garments lurching towards him.

“Sire, let me help you!”

I clutched at Phillip’s shoulder, hoping to stop him before the former King made him a royal banquet. He shrugged me off in one violent motion, causing me to stumble backwards, my heels catching on the over-abundant hem of my nightgown.  Once more I fell, once more the back of my head collided with something hard and once more the world went black.

Damn.

 ***

“Ashley?  Ashley?”

Gabriel’s voice penetrated the painful fog wrapped around my head.  A gentle hand stroked the hair back from my forehead.

“Gabriel?”

I opened my eyes slowly, grateful for a lack of bright golden light.  My surroundings were dim, but my wild card vision made it easy enough to see.   I was even more grateful to see Gabriel’s face above mine; the real Gabriel, with his nose that had once been broken and his normal hair.

I struggled to sit up.  With only a cautionary, “Take it slow. You hit your head pretty hard,” Gabriel helped me into a sitting position.

“Sleeping Beauty’s Castle,” he smiled. “Pretty cool.  When you’re up for it, we’ll take a tour.”

“Are we safe?”

“For a while at least. The front doors are pretty solid and I checked out the rest of the castle.” He grinned. “Just you, me, and a bunch of fairy tale characters.”

Ugh, I thought.

I reached out and patted his chest, smiling at the reassuring feel of body armor. “You’re wearing Kevlar,” I said.

Even better, I was wearing Kevlar, along with the rest of my combat gear.

He raised an eyebrow. “What else would I be wearing?”

I thought about telling him, but figured it’d wait.  For now, I just wanted to enjoy being in the company of the only Prince Charming – or Phillip – I needed. One that wore Kevlar and carried an M-4.

_________________________________________________________________________________

About Dana:

Dana Fredsti is ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical sword-fighting. Through seven plus years of volunteering at EFBC/FCC (Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center), Dana’s had a full-grown leopard sit on her feet, kissed by tigers, held baby jaguars and had her thumb sucked by an ocelot with nursing issues. She’s addicted to bad movies and any book or film, good or bad, which include zombies. Her other hobbies include surfing (badly), collecting beach glass (obsessively), and wine tasting (happily).

Along with her best friend Maureen, Dana was co-producer/writer/director for a mystery-oriented theatrical troupe based in San Diego. While no actual murders occurred during their performances, there were times when the actors and clients made the idea very tempting. Somewhere in the mists of time she lost a grip on what happened in real life and what she made up for her book.

She’s written numerous published articles, essays and shorts, including stories in Cat Fantastic IV, an anthology series edited by Andre Norton (Daw, 1997), Danger City (Contemporary Press, 2005), and Mondo Zombie (Cemetery Dance, 2006). Her essays can be seen in Morbid Curiosity, Issues 2-7. Additionally she’s written several produced low-budget screenplays and currently has another script under option. Dana was also co-writer/associate producer on Urban Rescuers, a documentary on feral cats and TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return), which won Best Documentary at the 2003 Valley Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Dana is currently working on the second book in the Murder for Hire series, The Big Snooze and writing erotic romance under the pen name Inara LaVey for Ravenous Romance.

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

Want to read more from Dana Fredsti?

Plague Town Plague NationAshley Drake, Zombie Hunter...Murder for Hire: The Peruvi...

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Available April 9, 2013 from Titan Books

About this Book:

Sequel to the thrilling zombie novel PLAGUE TOWN.

The undead have been defeated in Redwood Grove, CA, but reports of similar outbreaks are coming in. What seemed to be an isolated event is turning into a pandemic.  The last thing Ashley Parker wanted when she went to college was to join the military, but she is one of a select few who are immune to the virus. Gifted with enhanced speed, strength, and senses, she’s recruited by a shadowy international organization that’s existed for centuries, its sole purpose to combat the zombie threat.

Dark secrets begin to emerge, and when an unknown enemy strikes, Ashley and the other zombie hunters—known as “wild cards”—embark on a desperate mission to reach San Francisco. If they fail, the plague will sweep the nation unchecked. And the person she cares for most may die. Or worse.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Fantastic Fables: Allegiance Sworn by Kylie Griffin

April 24th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Fantastic Fables 22 Comments »

Fantastic Fables continues today with Kylie Griffin. Two novels in her The Light Blade series were released on April 2, 2013. The first novel in the series Vengeance Born was rereleased in mass market paperback. The new novel and the third book in the series, Allegiance Sworn, is also now available.

We have another winner’s choice giveaway today! One lucky reader can choose between Allegiance Sworn or Vengeance Born.

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Themes That Resonate…

When Kristie invited me to take part in the “Fantastic Fables” event I jumped at the chance. As a child I loved my well-worn Hans Christian Anderson’s book of fairytales – these were the original versions of the stories, where crows pecking out evil step-sisters eyes, or wonderful rewards were won by the faithful and loyal, where handsome princes swept a woman off their feet to live happily ever after with them, and of people dying in graphic, horrible ways (or they were for a kid with a vivid imagination! LOL).

I read this book every night at bedtime, and went to sleep dreaming or having nightmares about them! During the day they fuelled my imagination and were inspiration for the games I played with friends outside in my cubby house or during a sleep over.

Nowadays, while I don’t drag my friends outside to play these sorts of games anymore, as an author I still get to disappear into imaginary worlds and participate in exciting adventures. The pay-off is that I also get to entertain readers with my books. The best of all worlds!

I love that many of the themes that appear in fairytales also resonate in romance novels, regardless of the genre. I live, love and breathe paranormal romance, and ALLEGIANCE SWORN (my newest fantasy romance release), explores several well-known themes, although some have been twisted to suit the characters and plot.  :-)

Hero rescues the heroine – actually in ALLEGIANCE SWORN it’s the other way around. Imhara rescues Arek. He’s captured by demons and is on his way to be sold as a blood-slave on the auction block. Arek has sworn to die before letting this happen to him, he hates all things demon and Imhara is a demon, so you can imagine his reaction when she claims him. She rescues him, but this is his greatest fear come to life – and don’t the sparks fly!

Good vs. evil & evil characters – well, there are several in the Light Blade series but in ALLEGIANCE SWORN we meet two. Savyr and Yur; the demon king and his second-in-command. They hate humans as much as humans hate them and their one goal is to see the human race brought to their knees and every single one enslaved. These demons – Savyr in particular – have impacted both Arek and Imhara’s lives. The demon king is responsible for the assassination of Imhara’s family as well as the death of Arek’s parents.

A quest or journey & lessons to be learned – these themes figures predominately in ALLEGIANCE SWORN for both characters. Revenge drives both Arek and Imhara, yet as they journey together and learn to trust one another, going from enemies to lovers, they realize there’s something greater to come from their quest than bringing Savyr’s reign of terror to an end – love.

Happily ever after – the staple of fairytales – at least for those who work hard and show by their actions that they are worthy of some sort of happy ending be it riches, a long held dream or personal gain. Imhara and Arek are rewarded but not with what they were expecting. What that something is…well, that would be telling, and a spoiler for the ending of the book…

So it’s probably a good thing there’s a giveaway up for grabs. ALLEGIANCE SWORN (#3 Light Blade series, trade paperback) and VENGEANCE BORN (#1, mass market paperback) both came out on April 2nd, a dual release, therefore it’s twice the celebration!

If you’d like to go into the draw, have fun answering this question – Which fairytale is your favourite and why? And if you’re the winner, then you’ll get to choose which book you’d like to claim as your prize! I look forward to reading your answers.  :-)

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About Kylie:

Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.

Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.

Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community.

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

Want to read more from Kylie Griffin?

Vengeance Born Alliance Forged Allegiance Sworn

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This contest is provided by Kylie Griffin

One lucky reader will win either Allegiance Sworn or Vengeance Born! (Winner’s Choice)

Available April 2, 2013 from Berkley/Penguin

About this Book:

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a demon leader seeks to unify the races…

With the alliance of the humans and the half-blood Na’Chi forged, the demon Na’Reish prepare for war by seizing human blood-slaves. Captured during a rescue mission-gone-wrong, Light Blade warrior Arek Barial finds himself claimed by a Na’Reishi female who offers him an unexpected choice.

Raised in the elite ranks of a society she abhors, Imhara Kaal lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reish Clan-leader and an advocate for a caste-free life that honors the Old Ways. Openly rebelling against the Na’Reish would mean her death, unless she can find an emissary willing to present her petition to the human Blade council.

But Arek isn’t about to blindly follow a demon—despite the intense attraction growing between them. And while hatred for the Na’Reish is all he has ever known, Arek must learn to trust Imhara, or risk the destruction of all three races…

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Order from

Available February 7, 2012 from Berkley/Penguin

About this Book:

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy.

With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Order from

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