All That Is Gold…

Did you finish the sentence? That’s the first line from a poem in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. It alludes to the hidden identity of Aragorn and the legacy of his lineage. Here it is:

All that is gold does not glitter;
Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither;
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken:
A light from the shadows shall spring.
Renewed will be blade that was broken;
The crownless again shall be king.

The Lord of the Rings was a book I read repeatedly when I was a teenager, and in fact, the first full length book I composed was what we’d now call fan fiction of LOTR: I retold the story as a romance, with Arwen and Aragorn’s story as its focus. What parts of this first “book” that were written down are long gone: a lot of it was composed in my head and memorized. I would review it as I rode the bus back and forth to my first job (It was a long bus ride.) and ultimately had my version memorized, just as a medieval troubadour would memorize his compositions. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about troubadours then, much less their nifty trick of composing stories in rhyming couplets so they were easier to remember. Tolkien did, of course, which is probably part of the reason why this poem is composed as it is, and certainly why it’s easy to remember.

What does this have to do with anything? I recently bought an iPad, and there’s an option of having the back of it engraved. You get two lines and the first thing that fell out of my fingertips was this:

Engraving on Deborah's iPad

As you can see, I decided to go with it. The second line is covered because it has my contact information, which is probably why Apple offers these lines of engraving. It was only after I received mine that I realized no one would see this engraving unless the iPad was lost.

Or maybe wandering. 🙂

What poem sticks in your mind? What was the first book that captured your imagination? Or better, what’s engraved on the back of your iPad?

An Elegy for Melusine

An Elegy for Melusine: A Medieval Fairy Tale by Claire DelacroixAn Elegy for Melusine is a novella I wrote a number of years ago, which retells the French medieval fairy tale featuring Melusine. I’ve loved this story since I first read it, even though it doesn’t end well. In fact, I always wanted to give Melusine her happily-ever-after. There was no point in writing my continuation of her story until all of you read the fairy tale in the first place. It’s better known to francophiles than anglophiles, but probably best known of all to medievalists.

The novella is available in the print anthology To Weave a Web of Magic, and also in my own collection of short stories, Beguiled. As of today, however, it’s available on its own in digital format.

Why?

That’s easy. Because the “Mel” you’ve met in the teaser for Hot Blooded, the first book in my upcoming DragonFate series, is in fact Melusine. Her HEA will be accomplished in that series, and I thought you might want to know her background. Think of it as a pre-quel to DragonFate.

Because Beguiled is available in print, An Elegy for Melusine will not be available in a print edition on its own.

You can buy An Elegy for Melusine directly from my online store for the next 90 days, or you can pre-order it at the usual portals for September 15, 2015 delivery. Your choice. 🙂

Buy An Elegy for Melusine from Deborah’s store:
EPUB
MOBI

Pre-order An Elegy for Melusine from these portals:

Buy from Amazon.com Buy at GooglePlay Buy at iBooks Buy at KOBO Buy at B&N

Reader Letter from The Frost Maiden’s Kiss

The Frost Maiden's Kiss, a medieval romance and third book in the True Love Brides series by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

Welcome back to Ravensmuir!

I was very excited to have the chance to finally return to that fictional estate myself, as there was plenty of work to be done there. The ravens were gone, the keep itself had collapsed, the black horses bred at Ravensmuir had been moved to Kinfairlie because the new laird, Malcolm, had decided to go abroad and seek his fortune as a mercenary—and this despite his brother’s disapproval. Malcolm’s homecoming would be a renaissance for Ravensmuir, in my mind, and he required special woman to help him recover from all he had experienced. I was sure I knew the perfect one. My favorite characters are the ones who have their own opinions about how their story should be told. Catriona proved to be one of those characters—while I believed that I’d known her story and the balance she would bring to Malcolm’s life, Catriona showed me that I had it all wrong. As is so often the case—and is the reason I love opinionated characters so much—her version of events is much more interesting than the one I had planned. In fact, I think this pragmatic and wounded woman is a much better partner for Malcolm than the Catriona I had originally envisioned. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The next and final medieval romance in the True Love Brides series will be Elizabeth’s book, which is called The Warrior’s Prize. You’ll catch a glimpse of Elizabeth’s story at the end of this book, and there’s an excerpt from The Warrior’s Prize as well. That book will be a December 2014 release and is available for pre-order at some portals now. You can find the links on my website, http://www.delacroix.net.

The family trees for Kinfairlie and my other linked historical romances have also been updated on my website, up to the end of The Warrior’s Prize, and made more pretty by Kim Killion. You’ll find them under the Claire Delacroix tab, all on a page called Family Trees. There’s also a bookmark designed by Kim, which lists all of my books. You’ll find that under About Deborah on the Complete Book List page. These are all PDF files that you can download and print on an 8.5” by 11” sheet of paper.

There is one more exciting piece of news about Kinfairlie and Ravensmuir as I write this: there are audio editions in production for both The Rogue and The Beauty Bride. The Rogue is the first book in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of medieval romances and was my first visit to Ravensmuir. The Beauty Bride is the first book in my Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy, which is the beginning of the linked stories about these eight siblings seeking their happily-ever-afters. These are the first of my books to have audio editions, so I’m looking forward to having them available to you all.

Finally, some of you have probably noticed that of the eight siblings at Kinfairlie, Ross will be the only one whose story won’t be told by the completion of the True Love Brides series. In The Beauty Bride, Ross went to Inverfyre, as you might recall, to train under the Hawk of Inverfyre, along with his cousins and that man’s sons. (The Hawk’s story is told in The Warrior.) My plan is for Ross’s story to be part of another series, yet to come—we’ll move up into the Highlands and Inverfyre for that linked series and see some of those cousins married off, as well. First though, we’re going to take a little break from Kinfairlie in 2015 and follow a band of knights as they journey home from crusade. Look for more news about that series coming soon to my website and blog.

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

All my best,
Claire

 

Beguiled

Beguiled, a collection of short stories and novellas by Claire Delacroix and Deborah CookeBeguiled, my new collection of novellas and short stories, is available today!

Tales of fantasy, romance and forbidden love…

A collection of my own short stories and novellas, including:

An Elegy for Melusine by Claire Delacroix
Amor Vincit Omnia by Claire Delacroix
The Leaves by Deborah Cooke
The Kiss of the Snow Queen by Claire Delacroix
Coven of Mercy by Deborah Cooke
The Ballad of Rosamunde by Claire Delacroix

Buy at Amazon Buy at All Romance eBooks Buy at Createspace Buy at iBooks Buy at KOBO Buy at B&N

Reader Letter from Beguiled

Beguiled, a collection of short stories and novellas by Claire Delacroix and Deborah Cooke

Dear Reader,

I don’t write a great many short stories, although in assembling this collection, I have to wonder why that is. A shorter work is an opportunity—if not an invitation—to try something different in terms of style or to play with an unusual idea. Short stories are fun to write for that reason, and in addition, offer different structural challenges than books. I love to read short stories: they can be tantalizing in themselves, and also can provide a telling introduction to an author’s work.

The works included here were all written as the result of an invitation for me to participate in an anthology with other authors. In the past, invitations have been the only reason I wrote short—though that might change! I was glad to be invited to participate in all of those volumes, but is often the nature of short stories to remain available to readers for only a limited time. So, I’m very pleased now to have the opportunity to pull these works into a collection of my own and make them available to you again.

In addition, putting the stories together makes their similarities to each other more clear. Most of these works have a medieval setting, and all of them include both romance and fantasy elements. Each of them features a strong heroine who makes a choice, a choice that might end up costing everything she holds dear. Historians called the ability to influence one’s own situation “agency” and it’s an idea that I like to explore in all of my work. In the medieval era, women had more agency than many people believe, and we, too, have agency in our era, although maybe it’s less than many people believe. What we choose and why fascinates me. For the women in these stories, the opportunity to choose is more important than the result: I don’t know that even Melusine would regret her decision, though the end result is not what she had hoped to gain.

I’ve included an introductory note before each story, telling you a bit of how it came to be and its history. I’ve also included an excerpt from my medieval romance, The Rogue, because in reviewing these shorter stories, it’s clear that Alix and Melusine led me directly to Ysabella. Finally, there’s an excerpt from my upcoming medieval romance, The Frost Maiden’s Kiss. This is the third book in my True Love Brides series, and features the return of Malcolm to Ravensmuir from his time as a hired mercenary in Europe. He’s earned a fortune, but believes it has cost him his soul (and possibly his sanity) until he meets Catriona, a woman who shows him how to rediscover goodness. Catriona, however, has dangerous secrets of her own, ones that can threaten everything they build together. Malcolm and Catriona’s book will be published in August 2014.

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

All my best—

Deborah
also writing as Claire

Pre-Order Beguiled

Beguiled, a collection of short stories and novellas by Claire Delacroix and Deborah CookeThere are pre-order links available for Beguiled on Kobo and iBooks right now.

There will be a pre-order link at All Romance eBooks in about a week. The book will be available on Amazon, B&N, and Createspace on July 24th, then availability on the print edition will perk out to other portals over the following week or so.

Short and Spooky Reads

At this time of year, people have believed that the veil between this world and the realm of the dead was thinner than usual. There was a full moon this week, as well, just adding to the spookiness factor. I suppose it makes sense that as the days grow shorter and the nights seem darker, that we think about ghost stories and things that go bump in the night. This is a great time of year for horror writers and movies.

I don’t tend to write horror, but I do like ghost stories and spooky stories. I do have a couple of seasonal stories that might interest you – both are 99 cents.

First there’s a spooky little short story of mine that’s available only on Amazon for Kindle. It is NOT a romance, and since it’s just over 3,000 words, it doesn’t have a table of contents. I like it, though, and I think of it every fall when I’m walking in the wind.

It’s called The Leaves and here’s the link.

Halloween is also a time for the undead to rise. I’m not written many vampire romances, although I did love the vampire books written by Anne Rice. Here’s the only one of mine published so far – it’s a short story written for The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance II. The antho was published simultaneously in the UK and I loved their title – the UK house called it Love Bites. My story is called Coven of Mercy, and is a little bit different take on vampires. It again is a short story but is a romance – this is about 10,000 words in length You can buy the whole antho, or you can just try my story. Here’s the Amazon link, the B&N link, the Smashwords link, the KOBO link and the Sony link. It’s also on Apple, but the iTunes links are territory-dependent, so you’ll need to hunt it down yourself.

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope the goblins at your door tonight are just looking for candy!