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Archive for April 20th, 2012

Hope dangles by a silken thread.

 
When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.
 
Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.
 
Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.
 
Warning: This book contains one mercenary hero with a biting fetish, one determined heroine who gets nibbled, and an answer to the age-old question, “What does dragon taste like?” Matricide and sibling rivalry are available upon request. The house special is revenge, best served cold.

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When you think about fantasy novels, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it’s got to be the worldbuilding. When I read Robin D. Owen’s HeartMate, I was enamored of Celta. Robin took a few basic ingredients from our world, Celtic mythology and Wiccan-like religion to create a society similar to ours, but with fantastic differences. The result is a culture that’s both familiar and alien. On Celta, people use flair—magic—to do their chores and jobs. It’s a very interesting system, and I love that most everyone has their primary Flair that defines how they’ll earn their living, and a creative Flair. Then you have the echoes of Earth. The planet, Celta, was colonized by humans from Earth. One of the “characters” is actually Nuada’s Sword, a spaceship that has become sentient. There are also sentient houses called Residents and telepathic animals.

Really, I could go on for days about this series. If you want to see intricate worldbuilding at its best, read these books. The class system, technology, everything makes for a fascinating read.

I will say this series is marketed as science fiction romance, but it walks the line (to me).

Fantasy doesn’t always mean alternate realm/reality/world. Sometimes the most alien place is our world, twisted just enough so that humans aren’t at the top of the food chain. This type of fantasy usually falls under the heading “urban fantasy”. One of my favorite UF series has got to be Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I love Harry so hard. I want to hug him for surviving each book.

In Harry’s case, he lives in Chicago. It’s our Chicago, but it’s not. There are Fae, vampires, werewolves, skinwalkers, ghosts, goblins—you name it and Harry has probably pissed it off. His world is more alien precisely because it is so familiar. You’re home. Yet the monsters under the bed are real and they won’t hesitate to bite off your head then use your spine for a toothpick.

Another great urban fantasy series is Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series. While it also has a familiar setting, there are monsters to be found in her world as well. I enjoy the fact that due to Mercy’s lineage, Native American folklore plays a large role in that series. It’s refreshing, and I enjoy learning the history of gods, tricksters, as well as tribal lore that’s unfamiliar to me.

I remember going with my dad to the Archives building in downtown and spending hours poring over microfiche, letters, books, anything we could get our hands on. Dad loves genealogy, and the family history he uncovered made my imagination whirl with possibilities. I owe him for so much, sparking my interest in Native American lore is only the tip of the iceberg. So when it came time for me to write A Hint of Frost, I had a good idea of how I wanted my world shaped. I used bits and pieces of tribal lore and created my own story of creation for a race of people with spiderlike traits. The great thing about writing fantasy is that your options are limitless. There’s no right or wrong way to build your world. As long as you stick to your own rules, then you’re golden. Use whatever inspires you, whatever makes you think, whatever makes you ask yourself “what if”.

Those two words are magic.

Go ahead. Give them a try. You might be surprised by your answer.

 

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For a chance to win a book from Hailey Edwards’ backlist (reader’s choice, any digital format), just leave a comment below. Good luck! 😀

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