Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low @WorldWeaver_wwp @_BookMistress @onthebroomstick @cherylwlow

Cheryl Low might be an Evil Queen, sipping tea and peeping on everyone from high up in her posh tower—a job she got only after being fired from her gig as Wicked Witch for eating half the gingerbread house. …Or she might be a relatively mundane human with a love for all things sugary and soap opera slaps. Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, cheryllow.com. The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t. Social Media Links: Twitter& Instagram: @cherylwlow Website: cheryllow.com


 In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets. Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. From the tea to the pastries, everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm. From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he'll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves. “A deliciously decadent debut that will make you reconsider the world within which we live – because how different are we than Low’s drugged-up citizens of the upper crust?” -- Sara Dobie Bauer, author of the Bite Somebody series

How did you start writing erotic romance? I’m going to come clean here, I don’t write erotica romance. I write fantasy—dark adult fantasy. But I do think all things should have romance in them and what’s a story without sexy stuff?

Plotter or pantser? I was originally a pantser but accidentally became a plotter. While working on Vanity in Dust I had so many ideas for the series that I started writing them down in files under different books. When it came time to write the second book, Detox in Letters, I had a complete outline waiting. It worked so well for me that I’ve officially become a plotter.

What are three things you have on your writing desk? Glass of water, notebook, and glittery washi tape.

Favorite food? Do cookies count? I really love sweets. If not, then I’ll go with dumplings.

Tell us a little about your new release. What character in the book really spoke to you? Vanity in Dust is a dark fantasy about a city ruled by a queen who harvests and sells magic back to her people. Vaun Dray Fen is the prince, immersed in this world of petty scandals and parties, finally waking from the haze of his own life to realize that something is deeply wrong with his city. I really enjoy writing Vaun. He’s funny and willing to play a fool if it gets him the information he wants or just amuses someone else. But I think the character that resonates with me most is his sister, Fay. She’s deeply bitter and wields her power with intent. I’m kind of in love with her.

 I write because ____... I love doing it. I love writing and though there are a hundred reasons more why I do it, that’s the most important one.

What is your favorite type of character to write about? Oh, that’s hard. I like the complicated characters, the heroes forged from tragedy and driven by vengeance. And the bitter, ruthless ones that play both enemy and friend. But I think my favorite to write about are the funny observers caught between plot schemes and all those strong character types.

What advice would you give new authors? Keep writing. However it goes, great or turbulent, just keep writing.

What is next on your writerly horizon? Book two of Crowns and Ash, Detox in Letters, is on the desk of my amazing editor and I’m about to start a read through on book three. There are five in the series so I imagine they should keep me busy for a little while.

  Grayc snatched a book from a table as she passed and swung it against the back of Vaun’s skull. The impact echoed in the room a moment before the scrape of chairs and chorus of alarmed voices drowned it out. She waited as Vaun’s head turned toward her, clutching the novel like a weapon or a shield, bracing herself as the full weight of his rage settled on her. Black consumed his eyes like ink spilling from a bottle, blooming in his whites before saturating them completely. “Grayc,” he growled. “Madness is no excuse for bad manners or wasted tea.” His lip curled. “Mad? Me? Only the Low—” “Drink bad dust? In Belholn Main district teahouses, perhaps?” She arched an eyebrow. “No, a fine prince of the Realm would never be so foolish. A prince would never overconsume without giving his body a chance to rest between highs. Surely a prince would know better.” The veins in his neck jumped when his jaw clenched. “You think you can speak to me like this? You think you can get away with striking me, in front of all of these people? I own you!” “If you think that is true, then perhaps I did not hit you hard enough.” Her voice rose with a spike of anger. The prince’s hand drew back but before it could sail she spoke again. “Swords or guns, your highness?” Vaun blinked. “What?” “For our duel,” GraycIllan said. “Would you rather I shoot you, or stab you?” His lips curled back into a snarl that twisted at the corners of his mouth. “You cannot challenge me, Grayc. I am a prince of the Realm. You are just a rat.” She felt the entire room watching her but his blackened eyes weighed on her nerves the most, urging her to abandon her pretense of confidence and beg for mercy. It was not an option. His madness would only worsen the longer they allowed him to continue sucking down cups of tea. With a lazy shrug she tossed the book onto the table, ignoring the way the porcelain suffered and more tea spilled. “Vaun—” She used his given name and heard the intake of shock-stricken breaths. “—if you are frightened, you only need say so.”

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Embers of Fire by Ally Shields @OntheBroomstick @ShieldsAlly @RMBookTours @danawrite

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A chilling prophecy. A child in danger.

Following the defeat of the vampire elders, Guardian fire witch Arianna Calin and vampire prince Andreas De Luca are considering moving to his estates in Italy to raise their daughter in its idyllic setting. As if being descended from two powerful witch bloodlines wasn't challenging enough, Rayne was born with a mysterious star tattoo on her shoulder. Her parents suspect she is the Chosen, the focus of the Star of Esielen prophecy. But that's something to worry about in the distant future. Isn't it? After all, their child may be precocious, but she is only five.

Then the murders begin. The stench of demonic activity hangs over Olde Town, and a symbol carved in blood indicates Rayne may be the next victim. Suspicion points in several directions: a rival vampire prince, a mysterious stranger, and a werehyena leader attempting to break the bank at Andreas's new casino.

Abandoning plans for a quiet life, Ari and Andreas hunt for the killers. While Rayne may someday have to face her destiny alone, it's up to them to make sure she's ready...and to keep her alive.


A crisp breeze caught the last of the early morning fog and swirled it over the gravestones. The Olde Town cemetery slowly emerged from the mist, its silent memorial to the dead marred by an unusual amount of activity. A uniformed Riverdale cop completed a final loop of bright yellow tape around several stone vaults and two small crabapple trees. CS techs snapped photos and set out evidence markers as they processed the crime scene.

With a hot Styrofoam coffee cup in each hand, Arianna Calin bumped her jeans-clad hip against the iron entrance gate, knocking it open, and slipped inside, her footsteps crunching the brittle September leaves. When an eerie chill nudged her senses, she swept the scene with a sharp glance.

Nothing she hadn’t expected. Not yet. Nothing bad enough to trigger her witch alarms. But then, it was a graveyard. The remnants of so many dead souls could mask a great deal.

She ducked under a high section of the bright tape and focused on the blond man in jeans and a dark gray sweatshirt crouched beside a still form. “ME’s not here yet?” she asked.

Lt. Ryan Foster, her partner from the all-human Riverdale Police Department, looked up and stood, his blue eyes lighting on the cups in her hands. “On his way. One of those for me?”

A smile touched her lips, and she handed him one, withholding further comment until he’d taken his first jolt of caffeine. “Dispatch said it was a stabbing. Human female victim. Is the suspect one of mine?” As a supernatural cop and guardian for Riverdale’s Olde Town district, Ari wouldn’t be notified of an RDPD case unless the Otherworld was involved. Usually that meant vampires or werewolves—the predominant species in town—had run amok
“I’m not sure….” Ryan rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Sorry to drag you out so early on a hunch, but I have a weird feeling about this one.”

Ari nearly choked on her coffee. “Oh, no you don’t. That’s my line. There’s only room for one of us with spidey senses in this partnership.”

“Cop instincts,” he corrected. His early-morning face was grumpy, displaying his constant annoyance with things he didn’t understand. “It works for us mere mortals.”

“OK. Show me. What have you got?” She stepped around him, the humor slipping from her lips at first sight of the victim.

“Judge for yourself if something doesn’t feel off.”

Vivid red blood stood in stark contrast to the middle-aged woman’s light lemon sweater. Not a typical stabbing…her throat had been slashed, leaving a spray pattern of arterial blood on the fading grass around her and a glistening trail down the sides of a gaping wound. It had soaked her neckline.

Ari’s nostrils flared, taking in the sharp, metallic scent and seeking something more, whatever had triggered Ryan’s reaction. All kidding aside, working with him for eight years meant she trusted his gut feelings almost as much as her magic.


Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself "a river rat," and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has thirteen published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields enjoys chatting with readers through her website/social media and can frequently be found on Twitter.

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