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I Belong

Guest Post & Giveaway: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

J. Kathleen Cheney“Fantasy” February kicks off at Dark Faerie Tales with Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney! We have some exciting posts and giveaways this month so check back often. Dreaming Death is a fantasy novel about a man who dreams the deaths of others and the girl who is sensitive enough to share in his dreams. They are both drawn into a serial killers trap. If you can’t wait until tomorrow for Dreaming Death, check out, Peace of Strength, a prequel story that sets up some of the history of the world. For more about Shironne, check out Touching the Dead and Endings, if you want to know more about her story before Dreaming Death. Check out my review below this post or by clicking here. Dreaming Death is the first novel in the Palace of Dreams series and will be released on February 2, 2016 from ROC/Penguin.

Enter for your chance to win a copy of Dreaming Death at the end of this post! There will be two winners. This contest is US only.

About Kathleen:

Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, “The Golden City” was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). The final book in that series, “The Shores of Spain” came out in July, and a new series will debut in February 2016 with “Dreaming Death.”

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


Want to read more from J. Kathleen Cheney?

The Golden City The Seat of Magic The Shores of SpainDreaming DeathThe Seer's Choice


(Please tell us about the history of this world & the Families!)

Whenever one starts a new series, there are always a thousand questions. Unfortunately, the author only has so many words to explain. My first novel in the Palace of Dreams series, Dreaming Death, clocked in at 125, 000 words. I could have put in a lot more explanation, but as it was, I felt the novel was already at its limit.  But since I was asked…

So let me talk a bit about my Families: Andersen, Jannsen, Lucas (formerly Olsen), Halvdan, Lee, Horn, Sorenson, and Salonen. The Fortresses are ancient, built underground to escape extremes of weather. Unfortunately, things fail. Sorenson and Salonen are both gone; Sorenson long enough before the outset of the story that no one recalls it, while Salonen disappeared recently enough to still be a myth.  By the time the Larossans migrated into their territory, there were only six Families left.

The Six Families provided seeds (since the Fortresses hold stores of seeds, among other things) and taught the Larossans to farm in the colder climate. While Larossans were developing the land above and building cities around the Fortresses, the Families stayed inside, living as they always had. They advised the Larossans and traded with the Larossans, but that was more or less the end of it. Each Family governed itself, grew its own food in the depths of their Fortress, and kept waiting for the glaciers to return. For a while, that worked.

Then the Anvarrid came.

Unlike the Larossans, the Anvarrid weren’t interested in farming or trade. Their goal was conquest. For reasons (intentionally) obfuscated by the Anvarrid Houses, they were driven off their ancestral lands by the Cince. Forced to find a new homeland, they selected Larossa and invaded. They came with swords rather than plows, and did what the Larossans had never done: they attacked the pacifistic Families. The Cince had told them of treasure buried in the Fortresses, making the Families the choicest target.

The Anvarrid Army of Invasion succeeded in driving three of the six Families out of their Fortresses–Olsen, Halvdan, and Andersen–killing great numbers of them in the process. Jannsen and Horn sealed themselves into their Fortresses, and the Lee tried to negotiate. The Anvarrid armies quickly learned that the doors of the Fortress would close if there wasn’t a member of the Family present. A limited number of Family were forced into aiding the Anvarrid as they stripped the Fortresses bare of supplies, books, and art. Those were all sold, primarily to the Cince, along with many of the Family themselves. By the time the Army of Invasion moved on to take Pedrossa (which was a disaster), the Anvarrid Army of Occupation had arrived and began trying to rebuild the cities around the Fortresses into a homeland suitable for their king.

Dreaming Death

This is where things went awry for the Larossans. Early on, the Anvarrid governor formed a fondness for his prisoners from the Six Families. He offered to give them back their stripped Fortresses if they could be useful to his king (other than as property to be sold in the slave markets). To find a way to save them, he sent his son Luccasedrion to live among them.

It was Luccasedrion who realized that the sensitives among the Families could use their abilities to judge another’s intentions, and that would make them excellent guards. And thus the Six Families signed treaties that required their members to guard whatever Anvarrid House ruled their province. It gave the Anvarrid a standing army to replace the one that had disappeared in Pedrossa (don’t ask), and made the Six Families their servants.

The Six Families were forced to abandon their own languages for Anvarrid and dress in drab colors (black or brown) so it would be clear they were servants. They were no longer allowed to grow their own crops within the Fortresses. That made them dependent on the Anvarrid for food and other supplies, but the treaty also moved the Families closer to the throne and left the Larossans out in the cold.

By the time of Dreaming Death, two hundred years later, the Anvarrid-Family relationship persists, although it’s unclear who actually has the upper hand. The Anvarrid Houses are dwindling in numbers and financial strength while the Larossan populace becomes wealthier and stronger. The Larossans have their own army, their own police, and their own city governments.

Since each Family is run separately by its own elders, each Family has to meet the requirements of the treaty separately. If they fail to do so, they could be forced out of their Fortress. Unfortunately, the question becomes more and more, who would do that? The Larossan army? The other Families? The Anvarrid no longer have their own army to enforce the king’s will.

Therefore even their grip on the Six Families is starting to slip, as it becomes clearer that the benefit of the treaty to the Six Families is questionable.  The Jannsen Family is, indeed, considering closing their doors and ignoring the Anvarrid lord who sits on the Provincial Throne of Jannsen Province. (Since they were never actually driven out of their Fortress, two hundred years later the Jannsen still resent the treaty.)

And there’s a growing awareness among the Larossans that the army could overthrow their Anvarrid overlords. Thus we have a country that could fall apart at any moment, with any two of the sides going to war and the third having to decide whether or not to intervene.

And there you have an abridged history of Larossa at the beginning of the novel. I hope that it helps a bit. Or at least makes you curious!



This contest is provided by J. Kathleen Cheney!

Two lucky winner’s will win a copy of Dreaming Death!
(US only)

Dreaming Death

Available February 2, 2016

About this Book:

In the Novels of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney created a “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) realm where magic, history, and intrigue combine. Now, she presents a new world ruled by psychic talents and fatal magic…

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…

Pre-Order from


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6 Responses to “Guest Post & Giveaway: Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney

  1. StephanieNo Gravatar

    I think the synopsis sounds great! I’ve always wanted to read a Cheney novel and I definitely want to check out The Golden City series now. :)

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  2. Jessie MNo Gravatar

    I think that this book sounds amazingly cool and I would love a chance to read it. Thank you.

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  3. pingback:
    …and accordingly, I’m everywhere. | J. Kathleen Cheney

    […] At Dark Faerie Tales (along with a giveaway)  wherein I talk about the ‘history’ of Larossa. […]

  4. KristyNo Gravatar

    Sounds great! Can’t wait to start reading it.

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  5. LaraNo Gravatar

    Sounds haunting!

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  6. Meredith MillerNo Gravatar

    I think the synopsis sounds good. There has obviously been a lot of work put into the world-building on this book.

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