Reader Letter for Serpent’s Kiss

Serpent's Kiss, a paranormal romance and Dragonfire #10 by Deborah CookeDear Reader;

I’ve always had a soft spot for Thorolf, the big passionate dragon of the Pyr. It’s true that he’ll do pretty much anything for a couple of steaks grilled rare or the attention of a cute waitress, but when it comes down to it, Thorolf always comes through for his fellow Pyr. I had a lot of questions about Thorolf that had to be resolved in his firestorm, including the reasons why he was so easy to underestimate. I knew that Erik, the leader of the Pyr, knew more about Thorolf’s past or heritage (remember that Erik recognized Thorolf on sight and challenged him immediately) and had to figure out what it was. I had to wonder whether Thorolf was really as irresponsible as he tried to appear, or whether there was more to his story. (You can guess the answer to that.)

I was also intrigued by Chandra, the woman who pretended not only to be a boy but a thief, and who was tracking Viv Jason. She definitely had a secret, if not more than one, and I was as determined as Thorolf to find out more. I really enjoyed how the firestorm—and Thorolf—awakened new feelings in Chandra and showed her a side to living that she hadn’t experienced in her many years of life. In my mind, these two balance each other very well: Chandra bringing Thorolf’s innate responsibility to the fore, and Thorolf teaching his destined mate the benefits of play and pleasure.

When we last left Thorolf, he was enthralled with Viv Jason, unaware that she was deliberately distracting him from his quest to destroy the Slayer Chen. In the Dragon Legion Collection of novellas, the root of Viv’s quest for vengeance was revealed and the final restriction against it was removed. Having Viv in action and Chen seeking domination meant it was time for Thorolf to show his stuff. I ensured that the happy resolution of his firestorm didn’t come easily to him, because I knew that he’d need a big push to move beyond his past. I loved the fact that his loyalty would be misdirected, potentially in the most dangerous way. It’s not a spoiler to tell you here that during his firestorm and the challenges that result, Thorolf comes through again, and does so with flying colors.

He’s just the kind of Pyr you really might want to have defending your back.

There is some bonus content in this edition, including a guide to the next generation of the Pyr. A lot of firestorms mean a lot of sons, so this list includes all the ones born to date. The same list is on my website, and will be amended there as the series continues.

There’s also an excerpt here from Sloane’s book, which will be called Firestorm Forever and will be published later this year. Sloane’s is the last title in the Dragonfire series, and takes place at the end of the Dragon’s Tail Wars. There will be more dragon shifters from me, though, and we’ll probably revisit our favorite Pyr in other linked series, but this cycle will come to its resolution with Sloane’s book. I’m looking forward to going back into the past with my dragon shifters and also to move into the future with the younger generation. Stay tuned for more Pyr adventures!

And now I’ll step aside and let you get to the firestorm. I hope you enjoy reading Chandra and Thorolf’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Until next time,
All my best—
Deborah

Reader Letter from Abyss

Abyss, book #4 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix

Dear Reader;

Ideas are strange and wonderful things. Not only are they nearly impossible to anticipate, but the most unlikely ones can be the most beguiling. I had written quite a number of medieval romances when the idea behind the Prometheus Project came to me. I was skeptical of the notion of writing an urban fantasy romance with a mystery subplot, never mind one set in a gritty dystopian future, but Lilia Desjardins wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was persistent and wanted her story told. Publishers also thought the idea was a risky one, given my solid publishing history in medieval romance. The editor who ultimately acquired Fallen did so after I agreed to her suggestion to make the book into a trilogy. There was a lot of the Republic to explore, and I knew I could write three books set there. I also knew she was right that there should be more than one book in my publishing history in this different market niche.

I had a wonderful time writing Fallen, Guardian and Rebel: it was invigorating to visit new territory, so to speak, and work with different story elements than I had previously. I was fortunate to have the support of my publishing house and of my agent in trying something different. When the initial trilogy was completed, though, it troubled me that Tupperman had never had his happily-ever-after. Initially, he was a minor character, but his role grew over the series to the point that I felt I was abandoning him. The problem was that I didn’t know his story.

Several years later, ideas worked their magic again and I realized what Tupperman’s story would be. I had thought that it would be a novella, but as I started to write, Tupperman’s story kept getting longer. I really liked the story, so was easily convinced to spend more time in the new Republic. In the meantime, an interesting thing happened: the publishing rights for the initial trilogy returned to me. This gave me the welcome opportunity to have those three books edited again and published in new editions. I held off on publication of Tupperman’s story until that was completed.

This meant that I needed new covers for the original trilogy, too. I loved the covers on the Tor mass market editions—each featuring the hero alone—but didn’t have the right to use them. After much discussion, Kim Killion and I decided to use the heroines on the covers for these editions, to give the books more of an urban fantasy look. I’m very happy with the result.

And so, welcome to Tupperman’s story. It is set several years after the events in Rebel, when some things have changed in the Republic but others have not. The angels that Tupperman convinced to shed their wings and fight for the future of humanity have become an elite corps of soldiers called the Watchful Host. The problem is that someone is murdering the members of the Watchful Host, and worse, making it look as if Tupperman is the source of the betrayal. A disenchanted Tupperman believes that the time for his final mission has arrived, so he leaves New Gotham to meet his fate, suspecting he will never return. En route, he meets Kara, a woman who entices him and challenges him—and gives him more than enough reason to survive. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that Tupperman will finally get his happily-ever-after in this final book of the Republic.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

Read an excerpt from Abyss.

The Highlander’s Curse Reader Letter

The Highlander's Curse by NYT Bestselling author Claire Delacroix, #2 in her True Love Brides series of medieval romances.

Dear Reader;

Have you ever wanted to be more than you already are? Annelise, the heroine of The Highlander’s Curse, is so shy that people easily overlook her. She wants desperately to marry, to have a husband and children of her own, but despairs that she will miss her chance because of her nature. Our story begins with Annelise’s decision to be bolder, a choice that sets her on a path to encounter Garrett MacLachlan, a handsome Highlander whose kiss feeds the new resolve in Annelise. Garrett, too, wishes to be more than he is—Garrett is half-Fae and cursed with the ability to hear the thoughts of others. He has been denied his legacy as a result of his apparent madness, but his desire for Annelise sends him in pursuit of his rightful due in order to offer for her hand. Annelise becomes his strongest defender and partner on that quest. I really enjoyed how these two worked together to overcome the obstacles before them and create their future together. I hope you enjoy their story, as well.

The Highlander’s Curse is the second book in my True Love Brides series, which picks up the story of the Lammergeier siblings from the Jewels of Kinfairlie series. Like The Renegade’s Heart, this book is a medieval romance with paranormal elements, which is my favorite kind. By the end of The Snow White Bride, Alexander had resolved to let his younger sisters marry for love and at their own choice. Even though there have always been stories of a portal to the realm of the Fae at Kinfairlie, Alexander did not count on the Fae meddling with his sister’s futures. In each of the books in the True Love Brides series, the couple in question will be challenged by the Fae in a different way.

A series of linked books results in a large cast of characters. That there are eight siblings in the Kinfairlie family is one thing, but as they marry and have children, the list of characters becomes more extensive. As a result of this, I’ve added a Cast of Characters at the end of each book in this series for your reference.

There is also an excerpt from the next book in the True Love Brides series: The Frost Maiden’s Kiss is Malcolm’s book and recounts his return to Ravensmuir after serving as a mercenary on the continent. Malcolm is a bit of a black sheep, at least in Alexander’s view, but is determined to rebuild Ravensmuir to its former glory. As I write his story, Malcolm is learning that the coin he earned with his blade will not be sufficient to see that task done—some tasks require a greater sacrifice. 

In other news, I will be making a quick trip back to the future this fall. My Prometheus Project trilogy features fallen angel heroes fighting to save humanity in a gritty future. Of course, love changes everything for each one of them. I had a wonderful time writing these books, but at the end of the trilogy, there was one character without his happy ending. I’ve been worried about Tupperman ever since Rebel, book #3, was completed. Fortunately, I now know Tupperman’s story. I will be republishing Fallen, Guardian and Rebel in new editions this fall with wonderful new covers by Kim Killion. Tupperman’s story is entitled Abyss and takes place after Rebel, when Tupperman thinks he has nothing left to lose. He accepts a challenge from Lucifer to retrieve a lost angel—only to fall in love and realize he has many reasons to survive, if he can. Look for all of these titles this fall.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

REBEL Reader Letter

Rebel, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix

Dear Reader;

The Prometheus Project trilogy of urban fantasy romances was a departure for me in many ways, a visit to a very gritty dystopian world of the future, where angels voluntarily shed their wings in a quest to aid humanity. This world is filled with secrets and concealed truths, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that each book gave me new questions to answer. We started outside an “old city” in Fallen, an off-limit zone that Lilia Desjardins was bold enough to explore. We learned not only about the angels shedding their wings in that book, but about the survivors hidden in the old cities like Gotham. In Guardian, we went on a quest with Rafe to find and protect a woman who had long been hidden in the netherzones, and encountered the wraiths, a group of people lost to the Republic’s databanks. In Rebel, we undertake a bold mission with Armand at the Institute for Radiation Studies itself, in which he finds himself opposed by a wraith assassin. Theodora is an alluring woman who insists she will do anything for the bounty—but Armand quickly doubts that she’s as mercenary as she would have him believe. Together they enter the secret realms of the Institute to find Armand’s captured comrade, with only each other to trust as they try to evade capture themselves. I like their journey of discovery and the way this pair provoke each other to reconsider their assumptions.

I felt for years that I’d done badly by Tupperman in not giving him a happily-ever-after, and there were certainly readers who agreed with me. His story finally came to me (maybe it was in a flash of angelfire!) and I’m happy that it will be published this year. Originally, I’d expected Tupperman’s story to be a novella, but he had more to say than that, so it is a full book, the fourth novel in the Prometheus Project. Abyss is set several years after the ending of Rebel, when the elite corps of fallen angels known as the Watchful Host are being stalked and assassinated. Tupperman embarks on a quest to save the souls of the angels he convinced to shed their wings, never anticipating that he’ll meet a woman who challenges all his preconceptions. There’s an excerpt from Abyss at the end of this book, just to tempt you.

The research for these books was fascinating, as it touched so many topics. I often find myself reading old stories and myths, as well as variations in familiar stories, when researching my books: angelology was completely consistent with that. I’m also used to researching different physical locations for my books, including the underground realms and the history of cities. But with the Prometheus Project, I had to learn a lot about radiation and nuclear bombs. Both proved to be fascinating subjects, and not nearly as simple as one might expect: the elusiveness of data was part of what inspired the existence of the wraiths in my fictional world. If you’re interested in learning more about nuclear research and radiation, I recommend these two very readable volumes: Before The Fall-Out: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima by Diana Preston (Doubleday, 2005) and The Plutonium Files by Eileen Welsome (Random House, 1999). They are both proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

THE COUNTESS Reader Letter

The Countess, book #1 in the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixDear Reader –

What would you do to ensure a better life for your children?

In The Countess, Eglantine is determined that her daughters don’t share her romantic fate – she wants them to have the chance to marry for love and is prepared to sacrifice a great deal to give them that opportunity. Her choice is rewarded – not just for her daughters, but for herself, for in leaving all she knows, Eglantine meets the irresistible Duncan MacLaren. I really don’t know how she kept him at distance as long as she did! I love Duncan – it was great to read his story again, and hear his stories.

The Countess is the first book in my second Bride Quest trilogy of medieval romances, sometimes called the Scottish Bride Quest. Although this trilogy stands alone from the original Bride Quest, there are links between the characters. It’s not necessary to read the books in order, but reading them all is fun – I had forgotten, for example, that Burke and Alys from The Damsel have a cameo appearance in this book. It was good to see them again!

I’m very pleased that all six of the Bride Quest titles are available again, in both digital and print editions.

In other news, I’m also writing a new medieval series called The True Love Brides. This new series picks up the story of the Lammergeier family after The Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy and the Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy. Many readers have written to me over the years, concerned that the younger daughters of this family remained unmarried, and I’m delighted to have the chance to tell their stories and give them their HEA’s. The True Love Brides series is also set in Scotland. The Renegade’s Heart will be published in May 2012 and features the story of Isabella. There is more information about these new books on my website.

As with all of my re-releases, I’ve chosen not to revise this book, but to republish it pretty much the way it was published in the first place.

I’ve enjoyed revisiting The Countess, I hope you enjoy reading it, as well.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

Read more about The Countess.

THE BEAUTY Reader Letter

The Beauty, book #2 of the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances and a NYT bestselling title, by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

What would you do to see justice served? In The Beauty, Jacqueline is certain that joining a convent is preferable to marrying any man. Experience has left her fearful of men’s desires – of course, she doesn’t expect to be kidnapped en route to the convent and persuaded otherwise. Angus MacGillivray is a wounded warrior, returned home to disappointment and determined to collect his due. He mistakes Jacqueline for another maiden, then is beguiled by her innocence and her trust.

I love how these two changed each other. Jacqueline restored Angus’ faith in the world by her faith in him and her determination to see justice served. Angus meanwhile persuaded Jacqueline that passion is not to be feared, at least not with a man who holds her as dear as he does.

The Beauty is the second book in my Scottish Bride Quest trilogy of medieval romances. Although this trilogy stands alone from the original Bride Quest and it’s not necessary to read the books in order, there are links between the characters and many readers do prefer to start at the beginning. The original Bride Quest trilogy (The Princess, The Damsel and The Heiress) remains available in both digital and print editions from Bantam Dell. The second Bride Quest trilogy – including The Countess, The Beauty and The Temptress – is also now available in new digital and print editions.

As with all of my re-releases, I’ve chosen not to revise this book, but to republish it pretty much the way it was published in the first place.

In spring 2012, watch for a new series of medieval romances from me, once again set in Scotland. The Renegade’s Heart is the first in The True Love Brides, a four book series that picks up the story of the Lammergeier siblings after the end of my Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy. These historicals also have fantasy elements, which I love to include. The Renegade’s Heart is Isabella’s story. You can learn more about all of my books on my website.

I’ve enjoyed revisiting The Beauty, and meeting Angus and Jacqueline all over again. I hope you enjoy reading their story, as well.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

Read more about The Beauty.

THE TEMPTRESS Reader Letter

The Temptress, book #3 of the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

Every once in a while, a character who appears in my stories who catches my interest right away. Esmeraude was just such a character. Although she was only two when she first fell from my fingertips – in The Countess – and even though she was willful, she charmed me from the start. From the very beginning of writing The Countess, I knew that I would have to write Esmeraude’s story – and I knew that she would present some man with a challenge, even as she captivated him. Her story is here, in The Temptress. Bayard is perfect for Esmeraude, given his confidence and knightly credentials, but she is far from the easy conquest he expects. Of course, as a man who has had a great deal come to him easily, Bayard is completely enchanted by her, even before he wants to be. I had a wonderful time writing the story of these two and it was great fun to revisit their story.

The Temptress is the third book in my Scottish Bride Quest trilogy of medieval romances. Although this trilogy stands alone from the original Bride Quest, there are links between the characters. Those of you who have read the entire series may enjoy meeting some of the original characters again in this story. It’s not necessary to read the books in order.

The original Bride Quest (The Princess, The Damsel and The Heiress) remain available in both digital and print editions from Bantam Dell. Now, all three of the second Bride Quest (The Countess, The Beauty and The Temptress) are also available in new digital and print editions.

As with all of my re-releases, I’ve chosen not to revise this book, but to republish it pretty much the way it was published in the first place.

In spring 2012, watch for a new series of medieval romances from me. The Renegade’s Heart will be the first in The True Love Brides, a four book series linked to my Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy. The Renegade’s Heart is Isabella’s story. You can learn more about all of my books on my website.

I’ve enjoyed revisiting The Temptress, I hope you enjoy reading it, as well.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

Read more about The Temptress.

ONCE UPON A KISS Reader Letter

Once Upon a Kiss, a Scottish paranormal romance by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

Once Upon a Kiss is a time travel and romantic comedy which was originally published under my pseudonym Claire Cross, by Berkley in their Magical Love imprint in 1998. It was the first book with a contemporary setting that I ever sold, and also the first book that I sold to a publisher other than Harlequin. Because of that, it will always be a milestone book for me.

I wrote four books for Berkley – two for the Time Passages imprint and two for the Magical Love imprint. The titles were Once Upon a Kiss, The Last Highlander, The Moonstone and Love Potion #9. These books were creative milestones in another way. When I look at them now, I can see that writing these books gave me the opportunity to play with humor more, and to work on balancing comedy and tragedy. I had a lot of fun writing these books and am pleased to be able to make them available to readers once more. All four books are available in new digital editions and new trade paperback print editions. There is also a digital boxed set, including all four of these time travel romances at a special price.

As with all of my digital re-releases, I’ve chosen not to revise this book, but to republish it pretty much the way it was published in the first place. Although I’ve learned a few things about storytelling and writing in the past fourteen years, I like the work as it stands.

In other news, I’ve returned to Scotland in my books and am happily writing medieval romance again. The Renegade’s Heart, the first book in a new four-book series called The True Love Brides, will be published in May 2012. This new series picks up the story from my Jewels of Kinfairlie series, following four more of the siblings at Kinfairlie as they meet their romantic matches and find their happily-ever-afters. The Renegade’s Heart is Isabella’s story and I’m very excited to have the chance to finally tell her tale. Visit my website for more information about this series and other upcoming releases.

I’ve enjoyed revisiting Once Upon a Kiss, and hope you enjoy reading it, as well.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

Read more about Once Upon A Kiss.

THE LAST HIGHLANDER Reader Letter

The Last Highlander, a Scottish time travel romance by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

The Last Highlander is a time travel romance and romantic comedy which was originally published under my pseudonym Claire Cross, by Berkley in 1998. I wrote four books for Berkley – two for the Time Passages imprint and two for the Magical Love imprint. The titles were Once Upon a Kiss, The Last Highlander, The Moonstone and Love Potion #9. When I look at them now, I can see that writing these books gave me the opportunity to play with humor more, and to work on balancing comedy and tragedy. I had a lot of fun writing these books. For years, I heard from readers who wanted copies of these books but had no more print copies myself.

Currently, all four of these titles are available in new digital editions as well as new trade paperback print editions.

My original title for The Last Highlander was The Briar and the Rose. It’s still a title I really like, as well as the title of a song by Tom Waits with quite evocative lyrics. Holly Cole recorded a beautiful version of this song, which appears on her album Temptation. To avoid confusion, however, this re-release has the same title as the original printed edition.

As with all of my re-releases, I’ve chosen not to revise this book, but to republish it pretty much the way it was published in the first place. Although I’ve learned a few things about storytelling and writing since writing this story, I like the work as it stands. There may be a few typos or exclamation marks missing, but otherwise this edition is very similar to the original mass market edition.  

In other news, I’ve returned to Scotland in my books and am happily writing medieval romance again. The Renegade’s Heart, the first book in a new four-book series called The True Love Brides, will be published in May 2012. This new series picks up the story from my Jewels of Kinfairlie series, following four more of the siblings at Kinfairlie as they meet their romantic matches and find their happily-ever-afters. The Renegade’s Heart is Isabella’s story and I’m very excited to have the chance to finally tell her tale. Visit my website for more information about this series and other upcoming releases.

I’ve enjoyed revisiting The Last Highlander, and hope you enjoy reading Alasdair and Morgan’s story, as well.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best,
Claire

Read more about The Last Highlander.

THE MOONSTONE Reader Letter

The Moonstone, a time travel romance by Claire DelacroixDear Reader –

The Moonstone was one of four of my books that were published by Berkley under my pseudonym Claire Cross. All of these books are romantic comedies with paranormal elements – although they are technically not all time travels, I think of them as such because the hero and heroine in each story do come from different times. These books were just fun to write and I really enjoyed reading this one again. I’d forgotten how much I liked Niall and Viviane.

I decided to republish these books as Claire Delacroix titles, because it seemed to me that these four time travel romances have a lot in common with my Claire Delacroix medievals. It seemed that the same readers might enjoy both.

The other four books I published under my Claire Cross pseudonym are different – they are either contemporary romances or mainstream books with romantic elements, depending who you ask. Those books – the Coxwell Series – will be re-published this year as well. Look for Third Time Lucky, Double Trouble, One More Time and All or Nothing in new digital and print editions, beginning this summer.

As Claire Delacroix, I’ve returned to medieval Scotland again, which has always been one of my favorite haunts. I’ve picked up the story begun in the Jewels of Kinfairlie and am telling the stories of the other siblings in that big family. The new four book series is called The True Love Brides, and the first historical romance in that series is The Renegade’s Heart. It will be published in May 2012.

As with my other re-releases, though, I have resisted the temptation to revise The Moonstone – this edition is essentially the same as the original print edition. I fixed a few typos and that was about it.

I hope that you enjoy Niall and Vivianne’s story as much as I do.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best –
Claire

Read more about The Moonstone.