New F5F Postcards

I’ve ordered some new postcards for the Flatiron Five Fitness series, with Flatiron Five Tattoo on the back. They’ll be 5″ by 7″.

I can’t wait to see the finished postcards when they arrive.

As always, postcards are free for the asking. If you’d like some of these, you can comment on this post or send me an email. I’m not sure how long it will take for them to arrive from the States, but I’ll send them out once they do.

The Wolf & the Witch

The Wolf & the Witch is the first book in a new medieval Scottish trilogy called Blood Brothers, which will be launching next April! I just love the cover and am really enjoying Max and Alys together.

The Wolf & the Witch, book one of the Blood Brothers trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire DelacroixDenied his rightful legacy, Maximilian de Vries devised a plan to avenge himself upon his father and see his own future secured. Allied with his two forgotten half-brothers, he descends upon ancient and mysterious Kilderrick, determined to claim it at any price. A woman rumored to be a witch is the sole one bold enough to defy him but Maximilian has a solution—he will take her to wife, whether she be willing or nay, and seal his claim.

But this powerful warrior has yet to match wits with Alys Armstrong, a maiden with a thirst for vengeance and a fury that might exceed his own. Alys has no intention of capitulating to the proud and illegitimate son of the rogue who stole everything from her, and she does not share his avowed compulsion to fight fair.

Bitter enemies from the outset, Maximilian and Alys’ match is a battle of wills. When anger turns to passion, will either of them be able to resist temptation? And when Kilderrick itself is in peril, will they be able to join forces to save the unexpected love they have come to value above all else?

Coming April 26, 2021

Pre-order available at some portals:
Amazon.com
Apple
Nook
KOBO
• GooglePlay
Books2Read Universal Link

Goodreads

 

The Flatiron Five Boxed Set Update

Flatiron Five: The First Collection, a digital bundle of the first three contemporary romances and romantic comedies in the Flatiron Five series by Deborah CookeA reader contacted me last week to ask about an update to the Flatiron Five Boxed Set. This was a really good question and I had to think about it a bit.

The boxed set as originally published included Simply Irresistible, Addicted to Love and In the Midnight Hour. The issue is that there’s a new series starter, and that Just One Fake Date, while it’s Tyler’s story, is a different story than Simply Irresistible. Currently, the boxed set is unavailable – if you have it on your e-reader, the cover is at right. There’s no page for it on the website anymore, because it’s no longer for sale.

What I’ve decided to do is update the boxed set with Just One Fake Date and the two updated stories, Just One More Time and Just One Night Together. If you own the boxed set pictured at right, you’ll be able to download the new edition (which will have a new cover) as an update. I’ll do this around or slightly before the publication of Just One Silver Fox, which is just about the time that Just One Fake Date will become a free series starter.

Just One Silver Fox, book six of Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeThe thing is that if you download this update, the existing file will be over-written. That means you won’t have Simply Irresistible anymore. There’s no way around this, so you’ll have to choose whether to take the update, or buy the new editions separately.

Then I’ll create a second boxed set, including Just One Hometown Hero, Two Weddings & a Baby, Just One Second Chance and Just One Silver Fox next summer, and publish it around the time that Aidan’s book is released. Aidan’s book will be the first in a new contemporary romance series set in Harte’s Harbor. I may also do a boxed set of the four books in the Flatiron Five Tattoo series next summer.

I’ll get the covers done closer to the end of the year and will put up a pre-order for the second boxed set once the first one is updated and available.

That’s the plan!

Just One Silver Fox

Flatiron Five Fitness continues! You’ll meet Jacquie (aka Jax), the human resources manager at the club, in Just One Fake Date. I loved this character as soon as she stepped onto the page. Cassie called her “the original woman of few words and F5F’s kickboxing queen”. Cassie also admitted she wanted to be Jax when she grew up. That made me curious about Jax’s story.

This is the working copy:

Just One Silver Fox, book six of Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeJacquie Morgan is an open book…
Married young and widowed soon after, Jacquie can’t remember a time that she wasn’t defending and protecting someone. When her baby goes to college and her nest is empty, she decides to indulge herself. Attending the F5F Valentine’s Day “come disguised as your favorite superhero” party seems like the perfect solution—but the better one is taking “Superman” home for the night, knowing exactly who is behind the mask.

Pierce Aston has a hidden past…
It’s a history he’d rather forget, so Pierce is building himself a new life, with no commitments or responsibilities. F5F club provides a perfect place to find his new balance, with the bonus opportunity to admire kickboxing queen and human resources manager, Jacquie. Going to a party in disguise is right in his toolbox, as is a covert mission for seduction—but being with Jacquie is far more addictive than Pierce expects. When she decides to help him by unravelling his secrets, will Pierce be able to deny his perceptive new lover, even to defend those he is sworn to protect?

Coming January 26, 2021

Pre-order available at these portals:
Amazon.com
Apple
KOBO
Nook
• GooglePlay
Books2Read Universal Link

Goodreads

Flatiron Five Fitness Cover Reveal

This winter, I’ve been doing some work on my main contemporary romance series and today’s the day to show you some of the results.

First up, Flatiron Five will have a new series name: Flatiron Five Fitness. The books have new titles and new covers – and Tyler has a brand new book.

Let’s look at the covers first – here they are in order. I just love them!

Just One Fake Date, book one of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke Just One More Time, book two of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke Just One Night Together, book three of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke

Just One Hometown Hero, book four of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke Two Weddings and a Baby, book five of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke Just One Second Chance, book six of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke

Just One Fake Date is a new book. Tyler is still the hero of book one, but he has a different partner now. I love how Shannyn challenges him and his assumptions, and how Tyler wins her wary heart. There won’t be a pre-order on this – I’ll just publish it as soon as it’s ready to go.

The other five books have new titles and covers, but are the same stories. They’re being tweaked, to ensure consistency with the changes to Tyler’s story, and to fix a few inconsistencies. Sonia’s name, for example, will now be spelled the same way throughout the entire series. And of course, any appearances from Amy will now be appearances by Shannyn – and Shannyn will be more involved with the club. Since these are just updates and not new stories, if you’ve purchased any of them, you’ll be able to download the new version as an update at your portal of choice. I plan to have the updates done in May and will update Goodreads then, too.

As a result of this transition being in the works, the website is a little wonky right now, since it still shows both series.

Just One More Time is Kyle and Lauren’s story.

Just One Night Together is Damon and Haley’s story.

Just One Hometown Hero is Cassie and Reid’s story.

Just One Second Chance is Theo and Lyssa’s story.

The most exciting thing for me is that this change sets up the series to continue. I’ll have news for you tomorrow about that.

What do you think of the new covers?

Dragon’s Heart Delayed

Dragon's Heart, book 3 of the DragonFate series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeLike so many of you, I’m having trouble concentrating during these unsettling times. That’s affecting my writing and my productivity. As a result, I’ve pushed back the publication date on Dragon’s Heart (the DragonFate Novels #3) to July 22.

If you’ve preordered the book, you’ll probably get a notification from your portal of choice. If you ordered at Amazon, you’ll get two, because the date had to be moved 30 days at a time (instead of just 60 days all at once).

I apologize for the delay, but I know the book will be much better this way.

Learn more about Dragon’s Heart.

New Contemporary Romance Editions in the Works

Simply Irresistible, a contemporary romance by Deborah Cooke and first in the Flatiron Five series.I’m making some changes to the Flatiron Five series and the Secret Heart Ink series, and I thought we’d talk about that today.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, Heroes & Happy Endings, or belong to my Facebook Readers Group, you know about this upcoming change already. (If you don’t subscribe, why not??? 🙂 )

When I started to write Flatiron Five, I had a plan of what the books would be like, based on what I saw as strong trends in the market. By the second book, though, I was telling the kind of stories I like to tell, which was a little bit different from the original plan. I really like Simply Irresistible and Snowbound – okay, mostly I like Tyler and Spencer! – but the fact is that they’re a bit different from the other books in both series. That makes them less effective as series-starters. In terms of good marketing, a series starter should demonstrate what a reader can expect from the rest of the series.

Snowbound, #1 of the Secret Heart Ink series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeIn addition, the two series don’t look similar in their branding. I like the covers, but they’re not doing their job as well as they should. At a glance, readers may not realize the stories are set in the same world.

I had been mulling over all of this since finishing Bad Case of Loving You and Under the Mistletoe last year, then I went to a conference that offered a lot of amazing workshops on marketing. Wow! I learned so much – and developed a new plan. I need to do a better job of marketing these books, so there are changes ahead.

First of all, I’m changing the covers on both series, both to look more like other contemporary romances and romantic comedies and to look more like each other. I’m working with a new-to-me cover artist with fabulous credentials in this niche and I’m thrilled with our progress so far. (I love even her first draft!) I’ll be revealing those covers first in my newsletter and Facebook group, hopefully later this month. They’ll appear here on the site on April 15.

Secondly, I’m making some changes to the books. Some are small – like fixing the continuity error of Sonia/Sonya/Sonja’s name being spelled differently over the course of the series ARGH! – some are medium – like changing the titles – but one is bigger.

The big change is that Tyler is getting a new story, with a new heroine. He’s still the same finance guy who needs to be nudged out of his comfort zone, but Shannyn is a lot more forthright than Amy was. She’s sure Tyler doesn’t remember her from college, and really hopes he’s forgotten her telling him off at a party. But Ty remembers Shannyn very well – and he’s intrigued by the changes in her. She’s not his type and he knows he’s not hers, so she might be perfect for a fake date to his sister’s wedding. Ty suggests a deal and Shannyn surprises him with her terms. Ty takes it as a personal challenge to surprise her in return – and that’s only the beginning of these two shattering each others’ assumptions….

I’m having so much fun with this new book and I think you’ll love it!

Under the Mistletoe, a contemporary Christmas romance and #4 in the Secret Heart Ink series by Deborah CookeThis change will have a ripple effect and create some smaller continuity changes through the other books. For example, one of the things that I wanted to address was that Amy doesn’t have much of a role in the later books. There’s not much for her to do at F5, since she’s a writer. Shannyn, though, is a photographer and the whole idea of the billboards for the club is now her idea. She’ll be more actively engaged in the promotion plans for the club, which I like. She also has tattoos, so we’ll get to meet Chynna sooner. There are a lot of small tweaks like this that will add to the cohesion of the books in the series.

I’ll also make some revisions to Snowbound, to make it more similar to the other books in that series. (I’m still deciding whether I’ll lengthen the books in the Secret Heart Ink series to make them more similar to Flatiron Five. I need to finish Ty’s new story before I can think about that.) Those new editions will probably be available this summer.

And this will all set things up well for me to write a new series set in the same world as Flatiron Five. Yay! That will mean that some of the existing characters will make cameo appearances in the new books and is part of the reason I’m working on the Character List here on the site. I’ll tell you more about that new series later this year, once all these changes are published.

Addicted to Love, a contemporary romance by Deborah CookeIf you’ve bought the books, you’re probably wondering how the mechanics of all this will work. Don’t worry! It’s pretty simple. Simply Irresistible will be unpublished and become unavailable. The new series starter will be published and will be a free download. If this doesn’t happen immediately at the portals, subscribers to my newsletter will be able to download a free copy from BookFunnel.

The new versions of the other books, with their new covers, new titles, and slight content changes, will be published under the same ISBN#’s and ASIN#’s, since the changes are minor. This means you’ll be able to download an update free of any of the books you’ve bought. It also means the buy links to the portals will remain the same. I’ll add a note to the metadata of the revised books of their previous titles, so their history will be clear on the portals and at Goodreads.

But if you want any of these books in their current print editions, you should buy them now, as those editions will soon be going away.

Phew! That’s my big news! To be the first to see the new covers, and to have a chance to download Tyler’s new book free, please be sure to sign up for my newsletter, Heroes & Happy Endings!

All’s Fair Bundle Available for Pre-order

My upcoming boxed set is now available for pre-order at all portals!

All's Fair in Love and War: Four Enemies-to-Lovers Medieval Romances by Claire DelacroixAll’s Fair in Love and War: Four Enemies-to-Lovers Medieval Romances

Be swept away by four thrilling medieval romances by the “Queen of Medieval Romance”, each featuring a defiant lady at odds with a persistent and powerful knight. Sparks fly in these battles of wills, but passion will win the day.

In One Knight’s Return, Melissande is compelled by her overlord to marry a rough knight just home from crusade – the alternative is to surrender her family holding completely. She knows the kind of knight who will hold her heart, and Quinn de Sayerne isn’t it. Quinn, on the other hand, knows what it’s like to risk everything and is determined to make their arranged marriage into a real one—no matter what the cost to his beautiful wife’s pride.

All's Fair in Love and War: Four Enemies-to-Lovers Medieval Romances by Claire DelacroixIn The Scoundrel, Evangeline will do anything to retrieve the relic stolen from the chapel in her family holding, even seduce the thief himself to capture the prize. Gawain has always lived outside the law, a charming rebel protecting his own advantage, but Evangeline’s devotion to Inverfyre makes him question is choices. If he changed his ways, could this beguiling, brilliant, maddening woman come to love him?

In The Rose Red Bride, Erik abducts Vivienne to avenge himself against his wicked brother. Fueled by anger, he expects little of his captive except a son—but Vivienne is precisely the woman to take Erik’s cause once she learns his story. If Vivienne can ensure that Erik’s stolen legacy is regained, will her embittered but honorable husband find room in his heart for her?

In The Warrior’s Prize, Elizabeth challenges Rafael to change his ways, skeptical that the mercenary who nearly cost her brother his life is capable of redemption. But Rafael sees his comrade’s sister as an angel sent to save him, and when he realizes that she’s in peril of being claimed by the Fae king himself, Rafael will pay any price to save the only maiden bold enough to challenge him. But will his all be enough for Elizabeth?

Indulge in four sweeping medieval romances to warm a winter’s night—at a special price for one week only!

Coming March 24, 2020.
Discounted to 99 cents for pre-order and until March 27th only.

Pre-order All’s Fair in Love and War:
Amazon.com
Apple
Nook
KOBO
GooglePlay
Books2Read Universal Link

GoodReads

This collection will not be available in print.

A Peek at Here Be Dragons

Here be Dragons, the Dragonfire Companion and guide to the paranormal romance series by Deborah CookeSome of you have asked me why Here Be Dragons is taking so long to reach publication. Part of the answer is that it’s a big book! I wanted to give you a peek today at what will be in the book, and a glimpse at the process that’s taking the time.

The table of contents for Here Be Dragons looks like this right now:

1. The Books

  • The World of Dragonfire
  • Overview
  • Kiss of Fire
  • Kiss of Fury
  • Kiss of Fate
  • Winter Kiss
  • Harmonia’s Kiss
  • Whisper Kiss
  • Darkfire Kiss
  • Flashfire
  • Ember’s Kiss
  • Kiss of Danger
  • Kiss of Darkness
  • Kiss of Destiny
  • Serpent’s Kiss
  • Firestorm Forever

2. Glossary of Terms

3. List of Characters

4. Family Trees

  • The Byzantine Line
  • The Caledonian Line
  • The Caledonian Line II
  • The Line of the Cantor
  • The Celtic Line
  • The Dragon Legion
  • The Line of the Drakkir I
  • The Line of the Drakkir II
  • The Eastern Line
  • The Hibernian Line
  • The Roman Line I
  • The Roman Line II
  • The Line of the Smith

5. The Interviews

  • Quinn on hereditary roles
  • Donovan on Pyr vs. Slayer
  • Erik on the Pyr
  • Delaney on the Dragon’s Blood Elixir
  • Niall on affinities
  • Rafferty on the firestorm

6. Harmonia’s Kiss


Right now, the book is about 190,000 words and I’m still compiling. Firestorm Forever, in contrast, is 211,000 words and is 612 pages in trade paperback. Here Be Dragons is getting close to that size, but will be a bit smaller.

I had started this world guide myself, and then hired someone with experience in compiling other world guides to take over and finish it. Her contribution took almost a year, for a whole bunch of reasons, and she focused on compiling chapter-by-chapter summaries of the books. These are great, but I wanted a character list and a glossary, too. That’s what I’ve been working on.

For example, here’s my original listing for Marco, the Sleeper:

Marcus Maximus aka Marco (the Sleeper)—The nephew of the Slayer Magnus Montmorency and ward of Rafferty’s grandfather, Pwyll. When Magnus murdered his brother Maximilian because that Pyr had a firestorm, Maximilian’s mate and infant son were taken into protective care by Rafferty’s grandfather. The boy was enchanted to sleep until the darkfire burned, in order to hide him from Magnus. The Sleeper awakens in Darkfire Kiss. Marco is particularly tranquil and observant, and has the ability to both control and anticipate darkfire. Marco has his firestorm with Jacelyn in Firestorm Forever.

I intended for this to be fleshed out with his role over the series, each time he appeared. The world guide compiler added these details:

Dark hair
Dark eyes
Black with blue-green shimmer in dragon form
Affinities: Fire and air
First appears in Darkfire Kiss, Ch. 19 (though is seen “sleeping” prior to that)

That’s great, but still a lot less than I’d hoped. Here’s Marco’s current entry in the world guide, which does still need to be edited – I’ll format the excerpts so they look different from the main text:

Marcus Maximus aka Marco (the Sleeper)—The nephew of the Slayer Magnus Montmorency, son of Maximilian and Cornelia, and ward of Rafferty’s grandfather, Pwyll. When Magnus murdered his brother Maximilian out of jealousy for that Pyr’s firestorm, Cornelia and her infant son were taken into protective care by Rafferty’s grandfather. The boy was enchanted to sleep until the darkfire was released, in order to hide him from Magnus, and has been hidden at Bardsey Island by Rafferty. Pwyll used the power of darkfire to cast his spell over Marcus, and trapped the rest of the darkfire within three quartz crystals.

At the beginning of Darkfire Kiss, Chen shatters one of the three darkfire crystals and looses the darkfire. The Sleeper stirs in his sleep and the darkfire burns brighter in the crystal in Rafferty’s hoard, indicating his state. When Magnus abducts Melissa, he tries to barter with Rafferty, offering her life in exchange for the Sleeper. They fight instead and the fight moves to the refuge after Jorge locates the Sleeper and attacks. When Magnus is killed and Jorge trapped, Donovan carries the Sleeper to safety, only to have the Sleeper follow the darkfire to Rafferty’s lair in London. He awakens at the end of that book when Rafferty uses the darkfire crystal to rouse him. He can see the dead and talk to them, because he sees Pwyll in Rafferty’s home and facilitates a reunion between the two.

Marco is particularly tranquil and observant, and has the ability to both control and anticipate darkfire. He has dark hair and dark eyes. In dragon form, he is black with a blue-green shimmer, evocative of his bond with darkfire. His affinities are for fire and air. The Pyr find him enigmatic. The darkfire Marco commands gives him the ability to spontaneously manifest in other locations; he shows a tendency to suddenly appear when needed that hints at foresight, though it’s not clear whether Marco or the darkfire has the ability to anticipate the future.

In Flashfire, Marco manifests in Lorenzo’s car, asking that Pyr to surrender the darkfire crystal in his possession. Lorenzo admits that it’s gone (Drake has claimed it) but Lorenzo goes to the house to be sure. En route, he taunts Lorenzo with the word Diavolo, proving that he can read Lorenzo’s thoughts, a skill Lorenzo finds troubling.


It was a point of pride that he never lost control, but he had lost control in the theater.

And he’d threatened JP in old-speak.

Lorenzo frowned and accelerated, telling himself that it wouldn’t happen again.

“Yes, it will,” Marco murmured beside him.

Lorenzo glanced at his companion in wary surprise. Had he heard Lorenzo’s thoughts?

“I did,” Marco supplied, with a serenity that annoyed Lorenzo. “Again. It’s the legacy of the darkfire, I think. I can hear the thoughts of all the Pyr.”
—from Flashfire


Marco also reveals that Lorenzo’s father was involved in the disappearance of the crystal. He collects the pieces of Chen’s brand, acknowledging the darkfire linked to them, and disappears. Marco attends the repair of Lorenzo’s scale in Venice.

In Ember’s Kiss, Marco appears when Liz is battling Chen, shooting the Slayer with the darkfire crystal. He gives the darkfire crystal to Liz, whose powers as a Firedaughter are shown by her ability to use the crystal as a weapon. He advises her to embrace her powers and help Brandon. She uses the crystal to defeat Chen on their next battle.

In Serpent’s Kiss, Marco collects a prophecy from Sara, manifesting suddenly in the home she shares with Quinn. He appears to Lorenzo in Venice when Jorge is suggesting an alliance to Lorenzo in old-speak. Marco simultaneously suggests that he and Lorenzo form the alliance of five Pyr mentioned in Sara’s prophecy, including Erik, Thorolf and Brandon. He guards Cassie and Antonio while Lorenzo meets Jorge. Marco retrieves the darkfire crystal from Liz, appearing in the bedroom of Liz and Brandon’s sons during the night. He later reveals to the Pyr that Chen has a brother and uses the darkfire to help Niall in his Dreamwalking, giving him a glimpse into Chen’s lair. He breaks the crystal, releasing the darkfire, knowing it will free Lee. He waits in a market in Bangkok, ultimately finding Lee and escorting him to the other Pyr. Marco attends the repair of Thorolf’s scale at Angkor, appearing after the other Pyr are gathered in a flicker of darkfire.

In Firestorm Forever, Marco has his firestorm with Jacelyn. He meets her originally because of her interest in hunting dragons, having followed the darkfire’s urge to move into the same building in Seattle, and is the first to recognize her link with Nathaniel. He gives her Sigmund’s book—which he stole from Erik’s hoard. He also has stolen the last darkfire crystal, the one that Drake returned to Erik at the end of Kiss of Danger, because there’s a spark of darkfire in it again. The theft convinces Erik that Marco is turning against the Pyr. Marco receives the prophecy while he dreams in his apartment and writes it on the wall.

Jac sees both the prophecy and the crystal when she visits him, and joins Marco when he goes to Easter Island. There’s a strong attraction between them and they’re intimate. But Marco is horrified when Jac seizes the darkfire crystal and injures his mentor and friend, Rafferty. He abandons her to help Rafferty, which only makes it possible for Jorge to forge an alliance with Jac. The Pyr assume that Marco fired the crystal and abducted Rafferty, which reinforces the idea that he is betraying them. In fact, he takes Rafferty to Sloane, using the ability to spontaneously manifest elsewhere given to him by the darkfire, in order to see Rafferty healed and also to disguise his identity. (Rafferty is in dragon form but so badly injured that Marco knows he will rotate between forms, in front of a large crowd of people and television crews.)

Marco feels betrayed by the darkfire and refuses to help Sloane with the Cantor’s song, which Sloane hopes will draw the darkfire out of Rafferty’s body. He returns to Easter Island, argues with Jac, then finds her with Jorge. Even though he doesn’t trust her, she’s still a treasure of the earth, so he remains to defend her without her knowledge, breathing dragonsmoke around the hotel where she sleeps. When he returns to Seattle, he finds Jorge in his apartment. Jorge is stealing Sigmund’s book and has burned a spell spiral in the floor like Chen’s. Marco is trapped by the spell and has his energy drained by Jorge’s dragonsmoke, while Jorge escapes with the book.

I like that Jac rattles Marco, who has always been very composed and serene. She infuriates him and challenges his assumptions, even undermining his intuitive faith in darkfire. I think she’s good for him. Interestingly, while Marco lies ill in his apartment, Jac senses his protective presence. She even thinks she sees him one night when she wins a dart game at a local bar in Seattle. The darkfire rouses Marco during the second eclipse in Firestorm Forever, healing him, regaining his trust and giving him the power to go to Jac. She’s in Australia, hunting dragons, as arranged by Jorge. The pair reconcile and are intimate again before their firestorm sparks. His identity as a Pyr is revealed to Jac—who has read Sigmund’s book and recognizes the firestorm for what it is—and she flees, even as he feels compelled to shift to his dragon form.

Jac stumbles into Jorge’s clutches, and she realizes that he’s Slayer just before the dragonfight begins. Marco defends Jac and they fight together, until Jorge snares a wounded Marco in his dragonsmoke, draining his energy. Jorge also rips one of Marco’s dragon scales free. Marco asks for the Elixir, hoping that Jorge will take him to his lair and he’ll have the chance to trick the Slayer. Brandon hears his entreaty, which enforces the conviction of the Pyr that Marco intends to change sides, just before Jorge, Marco and Jac disappear. (Liz argues with Brandon about this, as she remains convinced of Marco’s integrity.) Once in Jorge’s lair, Marco feigns unconsciousness while Jac pumps the Slayer for information. Jorge is suspicious, though, and breaks Marco’s lost scale. The pair fight and Marco uses dragonsmoke to drain Jorge’s strength, building his own power so that they can escape the lair. With Jac’s help—she shoves a burning candle in Jorge’s eye and encourages Marco to put the Dracontias in his mouth—they escape the lair, leaving it burning with Jorge wounded on the floor.

When they manifest at the Holiday Inn in Virginia, near Sam’s house, Marco knows that the darkfire—which helped him move through space—intends for them to take the Dracontias to Sam. He’d thought that Rafferty would need it to heal, but trusts the darkfire. Jac insists that she won’t consummate the firestorm without being sure that her son will have a father, and Marco takes that as a challenge to win her heart.


“Good. It means the darkfire is working for and against us.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That darkfire has governed my life and darkfire has its sparks in my firestorm, too. Think about it: you’re the least likely candidate to be the destined mate of a Pyr. What are the odds of my having a firestorm with the one mortal woman on the planet sworn to wipe my kind from the face of the earth?”

“Pretty long, I’d think.”

“More than long. It’s completely improbable. It defies expectation and challenges assumptions, both yours and mine.” He seemed to find this reassuring.

“Like darkfire does,” Jac said and Marco nodded.

“Darkfire pushes and pulls, inverts situations and challenges us to see things in new ways. Like the way you fought Jorge and the Slayers. Like the way we both excite and get at each other. Darkfire is lighting our firestorm and making both of us reconsider what we believe to be true.”

“But that doesn’t change everything. I’m still not going to have your son.”

Marco smiled the smile of a man accepting a challenge. He turned a glittering glance on Jac, one that reminded her of what he was and also what they’d done before, one that dissolved her resistance and put her body on his side. The flames of the firestorm seemed to sizzle with greater heat.

“Which only means that I’m going to have to change your mind,” he murmured and Jac knew it wasn’t going to be as hard for him to succeed as she might have hoped.
—from Firestorm Forever


With Marco’s encouragement, Jac tells him about Nathaniel and about her own history. He tells her that he thought Pwyll was his grandfather—obviously this was clarified when he awakened in Darkfire Kiss and met Rafferty. (There is a continuity error in the original edition of Firestorm Forever: Marco tells Jac that he’s been enchanted for “fourteen or fifteen hundred years”. This is impossible, as he was born in 1055, so it’s been corrected to “over a thousand years” in the new edition.) When Jac takes the Dracontias to Sam, Marco retrieves the darkfire crystal from Sloane’s home. He can’t separate it from Rafferty, who needs its healing power, so he takes both of them. (Rafferty is in his salamander form.) Melissa witnesses this, which adds to the Pyr doubts of Marco’s intentions. Marco and Jac then restore Rafferty with the heat of their firestorm. Rafferty then tactfully leaves, having the energy to spontaneously manifest elsewhere. Marco and Jac resolve to wait until the end of the Dragon’s Tail War before satisfying the firestorm, then are attacked by one of the Boris clones.

This clone of Boris offers Marco a deal, suggesting that they become partners, use Jorge to make a new batch of the Elixer, triumph over the Pyr and rule the Slayers together. Marco agrees, although he plans to betray the clone. He believes that the alliance will give him the inside information to ensure Erik’s survival. Marco turns on the clone when Erik is cornered and Erik sees Marco’s blood run red, which convinces him of Marco’s loyalties. Jac helps Eileen and Zoë escape, and also destroys the clone with the darkfire crystal. Marco offers the heat of the firestorm to heal Erik’s wounds and the leader of the Pyr accepts. Marco loses a scale at this moment and Jac confesses her love to him after she catches it, because she knows what it means. They retreat to satisfy their firestorm in private.

For the final battle, Marco joins Donovan, Erik, Lorenzo and Quinn at Quinn’s home to defend Erik in the inevitable attack by clones. He uses the darkfire crystal as a weapon until it goes dark. When the antidote to the Elixir is spilled, Marco goes to Sloane at Machu Picchu to get more. He takes two syringes, empties one into a Slayer brought to him by Rafferty, then returns to Michigan in time to innoculate the last clone. Erik sends him to check on the other two battles, and he witnesses the spark of Sloane’s firestorm. He spontaneously manifests with Sloane, taking Sloane closer to his mate, and they end up at Quinn’s place in Michigan. Sloane follows the spark from there. (Sam is in Ann Arbor.) Marco and Jac buy Sam’s house in California, becoming Sam and Sloane’s neighbors. Marco’s missing scale is repaired at the ceremony at Erik’s lair in Chicago and he participates in the Pyr’s last televised appearance, the darkfire indicating that his firestorm will burn forever.


Here be Dragons, the Dragonfire Companion and guide to the paranormal romance series by Deborah CookeIt’s just a bit more detailed. 🙂

Here Be Dragons will be published on January 14. (There will be a new Amazon link on that day.) Have you reserved your copy yet?

Pre-order ebook at:
Apple
KOBO
Nook

Welcome to 2020!

It’s a brand new year! What will you do in 2020? What will you change? What will you accomplish?

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions but I’ll take any opportunity to review and revise. The start of a new year is a good time to do that. First, let’s take a look at things I learned in 2019.

Bad Case of Loving You, book #6 in the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeAccomplished in 2019
• I published four new books last year: Bad Case of Loving You, Under the Mistletoe, Maeve’s Book of Beasts and Dragon’s Kiss.

• I also published revisions of three titles: One Knight’s Return, Unicorn Bride and Pearl Beyond Price.

• I published four new Dragonfire boxed sets: Dragonfire Quest, Dragonfire Elixir, Dragonfire Reunion and Dragonfire Triumph.

Under the Mistletoe, a contemporary Christmas romance and #4 in the Secret Heart Ink series by Deborah Cooke• I started to initiate translations of my historical romances and published my first two Italian translations. (You can find Claire’s translations here.)

• I attended two conferences, a reader conference (Romancing the Capital) and a writers’ conference (Romance Mastermind). I taught a workshop at RTC.

Lessons from 2019:
Unicorn Bride, a medieval romance by Claire Delacroix, 2019 new edition• A year ago, I was wondering where my days were going. It seemed that I didn’t have much time to write, even though I planned to do so every morning and spent all day at my desk. So, I started a spreadsheet, documenting exactly what I did every day and how long it took. The answer became clear very quickly: I knew that being my own publisher took time, but those publishing jobs were taking a lot more time than I’d realized. Part of this was because I’ve republished a lot of older books in the last couple of years. I’ve been streamlining my publishing processes, experimenting with timing – either a publishing day per week or a few publishing afternoons in a row seems to work well.

Dragonfire Quest, volume one of the Complete Dragonfire Novels digital bundles including Kiss of Fire, Kiss of Fury and Kiss of Fate from the Dragonfire novels series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke• I experimented again with KDP Select and was underwhelmed again by results. Switching between wide distribution and exclusive-to-Amazon distribution is a lot of work, so I’m sticking with wide distribution for the foreseeable future. I may write some projects specifically for KDP Select, but we’ll see.

• Recognizing that my focus had shifted from writing to publishing, I started a creativity journal last winter. I bought a planner and a lot of stickers, then tracked and celebrated how much I wrote each day. Having it open on my desk helped me to write first, then turn to the other jobs after the writing was done. I really like the stickers, which is silly but it’s effective. I wrote 700K words last year, which is really a lot for me. I’ve already set up my new journal for 2020. (And it has stickers in it already!)

One Knight's Return, book #2 of the Sayerne series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix• Those are pretty big take-aways from 2019, but there was another big one. A year ago, I thought I could republish some older Claire Delacroix titles easily. I knew I had a full schedule with launching DragonFate, plus finishing up Flatiron Five and Secret Heart Ink, and didn’t want Claire’s readers to be neglected. I chose three books that had been published by Harlequin, blocked in a week to proofread the scanned book files, and scheduled them for publication. That plan had worked well for the Bride Quest and Dragonfire. It didn’t work for these books. They needed revisions to the point that it would have been easier to just write new books. Those revisions added a ton of stress to my year, because I miscalculated and hadn’t left enough time for them. There isn’t a lot of upside to doing these revisions either – while it’s nice to have the books available again, they aren’t the stories I’d write now and they don’t have a huge following. My time really would be better spent writing new books. At this point, four of Claire’s eleven Harlequin Historicals have been revised and republished in new editions, and there won’t be more in the foreseeable future.

Pearl Beyond Price, book two of the Unicorn Trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix• Another milestone from 2019 was initiating translations of my books. My Italian translator and I are making good progress on the Jewels of KinfairlieThe Beauty Bride is available and The Rose Red Bride is publishing, while she is translating The Snow White Bride. I’m waiting on the Portuguese (Brazil) translation of The Beauty Bride and will have the German translation this winter. It’s been a very interesting process, with lots to learn, and many new connections to make.

The Year Ahead
Dragon's Kiss, book two of the DragonFate novels, a series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeFor the past year or so, I’ve been aware that I’m coming to the end of existing series for each of my author brands. Last year, I launched DragonFate for my Cooke paranormals, and I’m really pleased with Dragon’s Kiss. I’m having fun with that series and looking forward to its continuation. I’m in a similar place with my contemporary romances – Secret Heart Ink is done and after Some Like it Hot, Flatiron Five will be done. (Maybe. I’m not sure where Nate’s story fits yet. It might be a novella at the end of the series.) And Claire needs a new series, too. So, I’ve been planning and dreaming. The hardest part is always deciding between competing ideas.

Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion by Deborah CookeRight now, these titles are scheduled for publication in 2020:
Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion – January
Flatiron Five: The First Collection – January
Some Like it Hot – February
All’s Fair in Love and War – March
Dragon’s Heart – May
Dragon’s Mate – October

That’s about 300K of new words right there.

Some Like It Hot, book #7 in the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeI really want to get ahead of the publishing cycle this year, and get back to having books done and uploaded at least a month or two before their publication dates. I also want to publish linked books more closely together. That means the calendar is going to look empty for a bit as I write and work to get ahead of the curve. (You can see that gap in the schedule above.) The plan is that by the time you see the cover reveal and the pre-order, the book will be complete.

I’ll be filling some of those inevitable gaps with boxed sets. The new Flatiron Five bundle Flatiron Five: The First Collection comes out this month, at a special price. Claire has a new boxed set, All’s Fair in Love and War, coming in March and there will be other trope-based bundles. I’m hoping to write and publish some shorter works, too, to keep you reading while I write away.

Dragon's Heart, book three of the DragonFate Novels, a series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeI’m also revising my schedule to keep my focus squarely on writing. I’m not teaching anymore or making treks to writing group meetings. I attended two conferences last year and while they were great, this year, I’m staying home to write.

This year, it’s all about the words—and the self-care. A year and a half ago, I started walking 4 km every day and that’s become a habit. I really miss it if I skip a day. I’ve added yoga at least three times a week, too. I’m still not very good at it, but it does make me feel better. 🙂 I’ve cut back on social media commitments, too.

Of course, there’s still knitting and crafting. I’ll show you a new sweater tomorrow on Fiber Friday.

I hope you have exciting plans for 2020. Let’s make it a great year!