Sunday, February 18, 2018

Courtly Scandals, Book Two of Courtly Love


Courtly Scandals, book two of Courtly Love, is due to release on March 19th, 2018. It's an Elizabethan historical romance set in the same world I built in Courtly Pleasures. Though it's in the same series, it is a stand-alone story. In Courtly Pleasures we met Mary and she decided to stay behind with court for Christmas. On the first night of Christmas Mary meets Charles, a Yeoman of the Queen's Guard and a true gentleman in character if not in title. Courtly Scandals is their story.


Circumstances surrounding them throw up ridiculous obstacles, one right after the other, but their biggest internal conflict is that both Charles and Mary are givers. They think about other's needs first. They're just too nice. Neither of them are alpha personalities and both would be really annoying to go out to dinner with. It might go something like this:

Charles: Where do you want to eat?
Mary: Oh, I'm happy with anything. Where do you want to eat?
Charles: I want you to be happy. I'm happy if you're happy. What are you in the mood for?
Mary: I'm happy just being with you. What would you like?
Charles: I really have no preference. I know you like that Italian place. Do you want to go there? Or you were talking about cheesecake yesterday, so if you would prefer we could go to Cheesecake Factory. Or Red Lobster has those rolls you like. It's up to you.
Mary: We can go there if you want to. I do like cheesecake. I love that you remembered that. Do you want cheesecake?
Me: For the love of God, choose already!
Them: *look at me, conciliatory*
Mary: I hope you aren't upset, Erin. What do you want for dinner?

Thankfully, through both Mary and Charles's growth (as individuals and as a couple) they get to a point where they can acknowledge what they want. It's not easy for either of them, but if they want happiness, they have to acknowledge their needs and that they deserve it.

Courtly Scandals has a damsel in distress trope, but the truth is they are both broken and rescue each other.

Do you have a favorite romance trope? If so, how do you feel when a writer takes a beloved trope and turns it inside out?

Friday, February 9, 2018

New Release: The Wind Reapers, Book Two of the Blackburn Chronicles

I'm excited to announce that book two of the Blackburn Chronicles, The Wind Reapers, has been released today.

The Tremblers, book one of this steampunk/science fiction/post-apocalyptic/alternative history, action packed saga, came out last month. Reviews have been great. It became one of my new favorite books because it's different. It doesn't follow the steampunk cliches (which I also enjoy) of tea, parasols, witty repartee, and pointless goggles. She incorporates goggles, but they have a purpose, and that could be used as an example of the technology throughout the book. It meets the definition of steampunk in that it takes technology in the time of steam powered industrialism and turns it upside down, inside out, and imagines what could have been possible. Given that necessity is the mother of invention, how far would Victorians have progressed their technological prowess if their existence was on the line?

And author Raquel Byrnes made certain to threaten their existence: cataclysmic earth quakes, poisonous gasses, devastating storms, and a inexplicable sickness necessitated technological advancement. 

In The Tremblers, we meet debutante Charlotte Blackburn, living under the protection of a domed city state in the devastated post-Great Calamity (a series of earth shattering quakes brought on by on by irresponsible mining) remains of what used to be the United States. Through no fault of her own, she is soon a wanted criminal by the despotic leaders of the Peaceful Union. She escapes to Outer City, a community floating high above the wastelands of North America. This debutante learns how to rely on both her intellect and her heart in the face of extreme opposition. From ball gowns to leathers, opera glasses to guns, she goes from helpless girl to a force to be reckoned with, doing what needs to be done, no matter the cost.

The Wind Reapers is book two of the Blackburn Chronicles and brings us to the treacherous badlands outside the domed city states. Hosted and protected (sort of) by a nomadic community in a HUGE spider-like, constantly roaming land vessel, Charlotte learns of a conspiracy that will doom thousands of innocents.

From the back of the book:
Charlotte Blackburn—Hero, hunted, the unwitting symbol of a dark rebellion—she thwarted the deadly intent of the treacherous Order of the Sword and Scroll, but at a shattering cost. Now, she fights to survive among a tribe of fierce Wind Reapers who troll the wasteland aboard massive metal walkers. But a new storm is brewing and Charlotte is once again the linchpin in a deadly plan.

Sebastian Riley has one goal: Help the citizens of his floating Outer City to survive the Ashen Croup, a terrible affliction that drowns victims in their own lungs. But help comes in the form of the infamous Lady Blackburn, a woman wanted for treason who is determined to run headlong into destruction to prevent a coming war—even if it means reaching out to those who want her dead.

Pursued by the shadowy Order and hunted by the furious Reaper clan, Riley and Charlotte brave the monstrous hordes of decaying Tremblers and the terrors of the Wasteland to stop the bloodshed and secure a mysterious calculating engine—a device that can bring about the destruction of an entire nation.

With brutal forces gathering against the unsuspecting citizens inside the Tesla domes, a vicious scientist intent on capturing Charlotte for his experiments, and the whole of the country in deadly peril, one of them must make a sacrifice too terrible to comprehend.


My review of The Wind Reapers: 
This book is a non-stop adventure led by Charlotte, Tesla, and Riley. Technology can only do so much in the face of "blood storms" and a desert veined with fissures releasing searing gas and lava. Outside the dome there are a new set of obstacles and Charlotte doesn't know who she can trust. Having followed Charlotte's journey from naive girl to the point she is at at the start of this book, a competent and somewhat Machiavellian champion for what she perceives as right, this story follows her continued evolution. What struck me the most about this was that the author made the bad guys very real, not archetypal villains. I understood and sympathized with their motivation as well as I understood Charlotte's. This made the right and wrong of the matter very much a gray area. It was thoughtful and threatening, ruthless and emotional. I cried (when a book makes me cry, it has won me over) and cheered and gasped... I couldn't put it down. Wind Reapers is a heartrending adventure that full of hope and fear, a story that challenged me and made me question my own values. 

This is categorized as a young adult title, but the scale of this adventure and the questions it inspires will appeal to all ages.

Book three is (based on Amazon) due to be released next month. I can't wait.
In the meantime I just discovered there are a few freebies available now that go into the backstory of some of the main characters.



Of Books and Blades is the story of young Aston Wells and the events that brought him to the order of the Sword and Scroll.

This Perilous Path is the story of Lizzie and her life before and during The Great Calamity. These are the events that led her to be part of the rebels, fighting for social justice against the Peaceful Union. 


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