Raffle Baskets

I’ve packed my raffle baskets for Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get-Together, which will be next weekend near Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m taking three baskets.

First is the True Love Brides basket.This one includes trade paperback copies of all of the Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy, plus The Renegade’s Heart and The Highlander’s Curse. It also includes a Kinfairlie cross, which features in The Frost Maiden’s Kiss, coming in August. And there’s a True Love Brides hoodie, too.

Second is the Prometheus Project basket. This one includes trade paperback copies of all four books in the Prometheus Project. It also includes Lilia’s timepiece, so the winner doesn’t miss the end of the world as we know it. There’s a Prometheus Project tote bag in this one, too.

And third is the Dragonfire basket. This one includes trade paperback copies of The Dragon Legion Collection and Serpent’s Kiss, as well as a trade paperback copy of Flying Blind and mass market copies of both Kiss of Fire and Ember’s Kiss. There are Dragonfire earrings in Thorolf’s colourway, some Dragonfire temporary tattoos and a Dragonfire tote bag, too.

I also have a couple of Serpent’s Kiss tote bags and some more Dragonfire earrings in Thorolf’s colourway to give away. If you’re going to the conference, be sure to say hello! It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Review for Abyss

Here’s a review for Abyss from Debbie Haupt at the Reading Frenzy. Deb is one of those readers who really wanted Tupperman’s story told, so I’m VERY relieved that she liked the book. Here’s what she said:

Abyss, book #4 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix
“Claire Delacroix’s finale to her urban fantasy romance series is fantastic, she’ll take readers down terrifying dark alleys, wide open spaces and fill the air with angelic voices with her always fluent, sometimes frightening and visual narrative. Her selfless hero and determined heroine are perfect for each other and are perfectly portrayed as they dodge bad guys and fall in love. She’ll catch readers up on her co-stars past happenings as she weaves the intricate web of her current Angel tale.”

You can read the rest of the review on her blog, right here.

Bitten by Books Review of Rebel

Rebel, book #3 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixAnd today, we have the third review from Carol Malcolm at Bitten by Books for my Prometheus Project series of urban fantasy romances. This one is for Rebel, and here is the concluding paragraph of her review:

“In this fabulous novel, Delacroix masterfully combines the unlikely mix of non-stop action and suspense with intriguing intellectual ideas, providing a glimpse into a horrifying world that feels all too possible. The depiction of a society ravaged by nuclear destruction, the shades suffering the literal fall-out, that descends into abject slavery and rampant bigotry makes the reader’s skin crawl. Despite this representation and the images used to portray it, the tone of the narrative contains a strong positive element due to the thread of hope that runs throughout.

The presence of the visiting angels seeking to aid humanity and essentially save them from themselves bolsters that atmosphere of optimism, but Armand, before meeting Theodora, questions the wisdom of angelic involvement. Longing to rejoin with the rest of the host and unsure of the success of his mission, Armand wonders, “What would he do in this sphere, with no hope of ever escaping it?” (250). Though not the primary focus of the story, the growing relationship between angel and wraith adds poignancy and determination to the mission of both characters.

Though this reviewer regrets not being able to return to this fascinating universe due to this installment marking the end of the series, Rebel delivers a highly-satisfying conclusion to the superb Prometheus Project Trilogy.”

Of course, I’m sending Carol a copy of Tupperman’s book, Abyss, to review. You can read all of her review for Rebel on the Bitten by Books site right here, and you can read an excerpt from Rebel on this site, right here.

Bitten by Books Review of Guardian

Guardian, book #2 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixToday, I’m continuing to share Carol Malcolm’s wonderful reviews of my Prometheus Project series of urban fantasy romances. Here are her concluding comments in her review of Guardian:

“No mean feat, the author ably sustains the suspense of the characters on the run in a cat-and-mouse game for the duration of the novel, resulting in a page-turning reading experience with thrills and surprises. Delacroix creates a stark, horrifying, and heartbreaking world visited by brief moments of beauty when the angels come to call. The introduction of the wraiths, the shadowy former citizens who will do any job for a price, adds an eerie quality to the narrative. The mixture of futuristic science fiction and angel lore works due to the strong characterizations of both Delilah and Rafe as the threads binding the two aspects together. Though a bit more of a paranormal romance than its predecessor, this book should also please urban fantasy fans. This reviewer looks forward to the next installment in the series.”

You can read the entire review on the Bitten by Books site right here, and you can read an excerpt from Guardian on this site right here.

Bitten by Books Review of Fallen

Fallen, book #1 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixOne of the fun things about attending conferences is meeting reviewers, readers and other writers. I met Carol Malcolm from Bitten by Books at the Coastal Magic Conference and we ended up talking about my Prometheus Project. She said she’d reviewed the books when they were originally published, but I had never seen the reviews. Well, she very kindly sent me the links, so I’m going to share these wonderful reviews with you.

Here’s the concluding paragraph of her review of Fallen:
“Delacroix’s fully-realized, disturbing world pulls the reader in on the first page and the narrative maintains both its suspenseful pace and intriguing storyline for the duration of the novel. The appealing Lilia and Adam and their respective backstories set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic landscape combine to provide a multi-layered reading experience. This absorbing and compelling urban fantasy/science fiction hybrid will satisfy fans of both genres and has this reviewer looking ahead to book two.”

You can read her complete review right here, and you can read an excerpt from Fallen, right here.

 

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

GUARDIAN Reader Letter

Guardian, book #2 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

There is something about a rogue of a hero that draws my attention at regular intervals. I don’t write that many heroes who are handsome, daring, reckless and indifferent to expectations (as well as committed to their own solitary status), but they are a lot of fun to write. I tend to write wounded heroes, who are noble and less-than-great communicators, particularly when it comes to expressing their own emotions. A charming rogue who has a gift for conversation can be a refreshing change of pace. Rafe, the hero of Guardian, the second book of the Prometheus Project, has many similarities to Gawain in my gothic medieval romance, The Scoundrel. Like Gawain, Rafe needs to be persuaded of the value of love; like Gawain, the right woman changes everything for him.

In the process of writing Fallen, the first book in this series, I became quite fascinated with the physical challenges faced by the fallen angel heroes who volunteer to shed their wings. What would it be like to experience sensation for the first time? Montgomery was struck by the pain in losing his wings, a loss that was more than skin deep. For Montgomery, at least until he allied with Lilia, this sphere was an ordeal to be survived. Rafe was different from his first appearance on the page—or maybe I should say his first moment as a mortal. He was enamored with sensation and I knew that his view of the world would be entirely different from Montgomery’s. For Rafe, the physical world offers an adventure to be savored. Once I realized that, I knew that there could be no better hero for Delilah, a young woman who has known nothing of joy or pleasure in her short life, than Rafe. For Delilah, the world is a dark and fearsome place, yet one she must embrace in order to fulfill her destiny. Given her past, she doesn’t really know how to start, but Rafe is an excellent teacher. I knew from the beginning that he’d teach Delilah more than she wanted to know, and that he would be reluctant to learn from her—but Delilah has an unexpected strength. Together, they are a formidable team and a balanced one—I hope you enjoy the story of how they conquer the obstacles before them together.

It is a wonderful thing to have a chance to revisit a book and create a new edition. When Guardian was originally published, it had some inconsistencies in the age of Delilah. Initially, I had thought she was much younger, but when she became the heroine of her own book (which was a romance at its core), she had to be older. Not all of the references were caught and corrected, and that always bothered me. This new edition gave me the chance to correct that and make a few minor revisions to ensure continuity between all three books.

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

All my best,
Claire

Read more about Guardian.

FALLEN Reader Letter

Fallen, book #1 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixDear Reader,

When Lilia Desjardins strode into my office in 2005 and demanded that I write her story, she surprised me. I’d written opinionated and outspoken heroines before, but Lilia was from a different time and place. Her world was that of the future, almost a hundred years in the future, a gritty repressive society called the Republic. Her world was post-nuclear but pre-Apocalyptic, one in which angels were sacrificing their wings in a quest to save humanity. Even better, she was falling in love with one of these fallen angels, whose earthly guise was a homicide cop named Adam Montgomery. As a rebel and a woman who has a slippery relationship with the truth, I think Lilia was more concerned that Montgomery was a police officer than a fallen angel. Now we call these books urban fantasy romance, and the settings dystopian, but at the time, I thought Lilia’s story was a strange hybrid of genres.

All the same, she wasn’t one to take no for an answer. I found myself not just writing her story but haunted by it. The first draft was a compulsive write, a mystery told in first person point-of-view in her strange and dark world. That version of Lilia’s story was never published—the book was revised extensively and repeatedly. The original vision was that of an historian trying to recreate a chronology of the events in 2099, which are told in the story. In that version, the historian had only Lilia’s diary as a source document. The historian thought Lilia an unreliable witness, so added newspaper articles and other materials to both corroborate and challenge her view of events.

Fallen was published in 2008 as a paranormal romance. Along the way, my idea that Lilia and Montgomery would be continuing characters with a relationship that evolved over multiple books fell by the wayside—because the trilogy of the Prometheus Project were all romances, they each had to feature a different hero and heroine. The story also was told in third person point-of-view, with scenes from Montgomery’s perspective that hadn’t existed in the original. I liked this change a lot because it showed us more not only of Montgomery but also of the angels and their plan. It also made the opening scene of the book possible. That was the last scene I wrote for this book and it remains my favorite. Sadly, my historian was cut out of the story, along with her footnotes. Guardian, book two in the trilogy, is the story of Raphael (a fallen angel we meet in Fallen) and Lilia’s daughter, Delilah. The final book in the trilogy, Rebel, is the story of Armand (one of the angels captured by Lilia before Fallen—his angelic name is Armaros) and Theodora, a wraith we first meet in Guardian.

I always really liked these books, although they are quite different from my other work. I’d never written about a place as dark and violent as the Republic, yet it offers a good contrast to the power of love. I was very excited to have the opportunity to revise and repackage the original trilogy for new editions. Publishing a linked series as it is written invariably leads to some continuity errors, so I’m glad to be rid of those. In addition, a new fourth book is being published: Abyss is also an urban fantasy romance, which takes place after the events in Rebel and tells of Tupperman’s happily-ever-after.

The other wonderful thing about a new edition is the chance to include some bonus material. I’ve gone through the files of the original book and included a selection of the content that never made it to the final version of Fallen. You’ll find the bonus material on page 333 of this edition. It includes A Summary of Nuclear Events of the 21st Century, some commentary from Lilia on New Gotham and radiation, as well as a news item about Lilia’s mom, Lillian Desjardins.

Finally, I want to comment on the change in the cover art. The new editions require new covers, and in this case, the market has changed significantly. Urban fantasy is well-established now as a viable genre, as is dystopian fiction, and the graphic language of those covers often include the heroine alone. Putting the heroines on the covers of this series resolves another issue with accurately presenting the characters in the book. Those of you familiar with angelology will have already realized that Munkar (Montgomery’s angelic name) is an angel named in Muslim sources and said to have the ability to discern the secret hearts of men. Munkar is also the only black-skinned angel. In the Republic of 2099, there is no conflict between black and white citizens, so the color of Montgomery’s skin color isn’t an issue for Lilia or anyone else in the book. Even though there are plenty of other prejudices in this fictional world to fill the void, that’s one facet of the Republic that would be a welcome change in our world. With Lilia on the cover of this new edition, you’re welcome to imagine Montgomery however you choose.

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

All my best,
Claire

Read more about Fallen.

FALLEN and KDP Select

Fallen, an urban fantasy romance by Claire DelacroixAs most of you know, I recently republished FALLEN, the first book in my urban fantasy romance trilogy, The Prometheus Project. I decided to enroll the book in Amazon’s KDP Select promotion.This program requires that the book in question be available exclusively at Amazon for 90 days. It also allows the author/publisher to make the book free for five days – you can schedule those days in advance, and this is the only way for author/publishers to ensure that a book is free on Amazon. (Amazon may choose to match a free price offered at another portal, but that is at their discretion and timing.)

I chose KDP Select for FALLEN because the Prometheus Project is different from most of my Claire Delacroix titles. It’s an urban fantasy and romantic suspense series set in a dystopian future world – as opposed to a medieval romance. Last year, I had a similar situation with the Coxwell Series. These contemporary romances are different from the bulk of my Deborah Cooke titles, which are all Dragonfire (paranormal romance and paranormal YA). Last summer, I put Double Trouble in KDP Select, then made it free when all four books were available. That kickstarted sales for the entire series at Amazon. Of course, the drawback is that this program only works at Amazon. After Double Trouble came out of KDP Select, I published it at other portals and made it free there. Amazon did match the free price for a while, and overall the strategy worked very well in establishing sales for the series.

My plan was to use the same strategy again, esp given the similarities in the two situations.

One difference this year is that author/publishers now have the ability to create pre-orders. A pre-order means that the book is displayed to customers on the portal in question, but that it is not actually available to be purchased and downloaded. The customer orders the book, and the sale is fulfilled on the on-sale date. On that date, the customer’s credit card is charged and the book is delivered. The idea with pre-orders (which are standard practice for big publishers) is that sales can accumulate over a longer period of time and all be counted on the same day. Ideally, this creates a spike in sales on that on-sale date, and drives the book onto bestseller lists. At least, it’s easier than trying to get every potential customer to remember to buy the book on the same date. Of course, not every title is driven on to the bestseller lists with this strategy, but it’s still a handy tool.

I decided to use the pre-order option for FALLEN. My thinking was that I could upload the book while all the metadata was fresh in my mind, pre-set everything, and let computers do what they do best. The book might gather some advance sales. It might not. The point was that I wouldn’t be scurrying around in January, trying to remember the keywords and locate the copy for this title. The book would complete its term in KDP Select on January 12. The pre-orders were set to be fulfilled on January 15. I loaded it all up and moved on to the edits for Guardian.

Last week, I received a message from Amazon that I was in violation of the terms and conditions for KDP Select. We went ’round and ’round, but the upshot of it is that they interpret “not for sale at any other portal” to mean “not distributed to any other portal.” Pre-orders, in their view, are a violation of the terms of agreement. I argued my side, but it was clear that my perspective would not prevail. As a result, FALLEN is no longer in the KDP Select program.

And the upshot of that is that FALLEN will be available at other portals tomorrow, November 1, instead of on January 15. If you pre-ordered a copy elsewhere, your order will be fulfilled tomorrow.

GUARDIAN

GUARDIAN, #2 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances, is now published. I just love this cover. 🙂

Guardian, an urban fantasy romance by Claire DelacroixAt the end of the 21st century, the future of humanity hangs in the balance, caught between the radioactive waste of a half century of nuclear wars and the repressive authority of the Republic. Angels sacrifice their wings to join a secret fraternity of freedom fighters, risking classification as mutants and consignment to the Republic’s slave dens. Each warrior is a volunteer, but no angel anticipates the full cost of his fall.

The eyes of the Republic are everywhere.

Delilah Desjardins knows she is fated to become the new Oracle of the Republic—even if unseen enemies will murder her to prevent that from happening. When her former haven is destroyed and she finds herself on the run, Delilah doesn’t know where to turn.

Rafe is a fallen angel, charged with protecting Delilah and ensuring she meets her destiny—even if she doesn’t believe he’s only there to help. The powerful attraction between them makes Delilah doubt her ability to resist Rafe’s charm—and the price she could pay for pleasure. She flees Rafe’s protection, but that only sets assassins on her trail. As Rafe races to save Delilah, he knows he isn’t just saving her for the good of the Republic—he’s saving her for himself.

“Chillingly good!”—Romantic Times Book Reviews

“A wildly creative, fascinating novel.”—Eloisa James

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