I’m so excited about this new cover for Scarlet Thread! It’s my most popular book, so with a new cover and a tweaked summary I’m hoping to boost my downloads significantly.
I had meant to publish the 2nd half of this story in “book one” – but since part one is already 60,000 words, and since the full story I have mapped out would be around 130,000 words, I’ve decided to add three chapters to part one and just call it “book one” – it’ll be as long as most normal urban fantasy books, at about 75K, and will end on a cliffhanger, but not quite such a dramatic and annoying cliffhanger as it does currently.
With those changes, I’m going to take it off permafree and change it to 99cents, with book two continuing the story, and book three finishing it.
If you haven’t read it yet, get it HERE.
If you get it before I update it with the new chapters, I’ll try and get KDP to notify you of the updates; I’ll also add the extra chapters to this site.
In the meantime here’s a sneak peek – a never before seen chapter.
(It’s rough and still needs editing).
My name is Kaidance Monroe, and sometimes when I touch people, I see how they die.
At least that’s how this story began. But last night changed everything. A few days ago I saw Matt die. I saw the sword sticking out of his beastly chest, blood gurgling from his lips. The golden sword, glittering with blue jewels, the crown that symbolized Zeus’s kingdom shining like a beacon in the darkness. All of Zeus’s winged army had swords like that—hunters, created to rid the world of magic.
In the past, every time I had a vision of someone’s death, it came true.
But last night, when hunters broke in through the ceiling like bolts of lightning, it was my death they were after. So I couldn’t let them kill Matt. I couldn’t let him die for me. I was supposed to use the shotgun and sword Sitri gave me, but I couldn’t do it. Not when I saw Puriel. His tall, muscular body. His amber eyes and nearly white hair. The shimmering mirrored wings behind him. I couldn’t destroy something that beautiful. And I didn’t want any more deaths. I just wanted it to stop. So I offered myself to him. Let them take what they came for. In that moment, I was prepared to die.
Instead… Puriel burst into flames, and Matt lived.
Which means, my visions don’t have to come true. Which means, I might not be the monster everyone always thought I was.
But why did Puriel hesitate? Why not destroy me like Zeus ordered him to? He’d become a torch, cast off from Zeus’s favor. After serving obediently for thousands of years. How could that have happened? I was about to find out.
After the attack, Sitri had practically carried me back to my room and told me to stay put. The others started cleaning up the wreckage and removing the bodies. I was most worried about Matt and Priya, because I’d seen them get hurt, but I knew Alice would take care of them. I wondered how many others were injured. Sitri had posted four torches outside my door for my protection. Every time I stuck my head out to see what was going on they crossed their swords and blocked my path. I felt like I was under arrest.
I wanted to talk to Sitri or Able, I needed answers—and if I couldn’t have that, at the very least I wanted to help out and keep my hands busy. Being stuck in my room while everyone else was working was driving me crazy. I couldn’t stop thinking about Puriel. What had happened? Why had he caught on fire like that? Why didn’t he kill me when he had the chance? It was an hour before I realized I still had Able’s invisibility cap—I’d stuck it in my pocket after confronting Puriel.
I snuck through the bathroom into Sitri’s room and opened the door cautiously. With the cap on I stuck my head out to peek at the torches. The floorboard creaked when I took my first step out of the room and I froze, my heart racing. Two torches whipped their heads towards me, but after a moment faced forward again like marble statues.
Most of the mansion was empty, I thought there would be more damage but it seems the attack was focused only on the upstairs floors—as if they knew exactly where I would be. I heard voices and followed them to the second floor. Eligor was addressing a small group of torches.
“The threat was neutralized quickly—10 hunters drew attention away from the main building by starting skirmishes around the defensive barrier, just as four breached the top floor. Two lost their lives immediately, apparently they didn’t expect to find Stephanie there, or underestimated her power. The third was killed soon after—the fourth captured.”
“Is it true the fourth hunter fell?” someone asked. There were murmurs when Eligor nodded. He held a hand up and continued.
“As you know, hunters rarely fall, the circumstances must have been extreme. I don’t know what it means yet, nor should we be overly curious. We should also not assume, now fallen, he will join our ranks—the fate of the intruder will be decided by Able and the masters of Nevah, and we will accept their decision without question. For now, he’s being held in the dungeon until decisions are made. We should also not assume the threat is over. Zeus’s army did not get what they came for, this time. They will undoubtedly strike again soon with double the force. Be vigilant.”
Eligor gave instructions and the torches left to carry them out. He paused when we were alone and he looked at the place where I was standing. But then he left and I was alone.
I wandered lower and lower into the house until I found a room I hadn’t been in before. In the corner was a descending spiral staircase made of large rectangular slabs of stone. I followed it down into a sublevel of the complex, which looked practically medieval. It was mostly used for storage and seemed to have enough food and supplies stockpiled to last a hundred years. I shuddered as I passed a room full of hooks, chains and complex devices I hoped weren’t tools of torture. Finally I found a row of thick iron doors with tiny barred windows. I peeked through the rusted iron bars until I found Puriel.
I could barely see him in the dark. His pale, white body made him look like a ghost, surrounded by walls of solid concrete. Ash and soot stuck to his skin in dark patches, and he smelled like charcoal, singed hair and burnt feathers. I heard the grating noise of heavy chains being dragged across the stone floor and noticed that the dark cuffs around his neck and wrists were fixed to the wall.
I gasped when he looked up, his eyes were black sockets, gaping voids of desolation and heartbreak. The beautiful thing Puriel had been yesterday was gone, and this thing was ruin incarnate. His eyes sparked like glowing coals, as furious patches of bright orange burned in the darkness of the room. He moaned, straining against his restraints, his muscles tense as he reached towards the door. Towards me.
I choked back a sob at the thing he’d become.
Then I took the heavy skeleton key, turned the giant lock, and stepped inside.
“It’s you, isn’t it,” he said as the door creaked open. His eyes darted across the cell. I realized he still couldn’t see me. I stepped into the far corner of the room, out of his reach, and removed Able’s cap.
“Come to torment me further? Survey your handiwork?”
“I didn’t mean for this to happen to you. I had no idea this would happen, whatever this is… I was just trying to save my friend.”
“And that’s exactly why I fell. A cruel trick. A mean trick. But so what, it’s over now. I’m here, a prisoner without purpose, without hope, condemned forever to waste away in suffering and darkness.”
“Why were you after me? I’d never done anything to you. You chased me from JDRI. Then you followed me here,” I accused. “Why?”
“I don’t ask why. My Lord commands and I obey.”
“You mean Zeus?” I asked. Everything Able told me had been true.
““Zeus is his pagan name,” he spat. “We use his Latin name, Deus. The one true king,” he said. “Pure goodness and perfection. My maker and master. Whom I faithfully served since he gave me life, until today, when I failed him.”
“Failed him, by not killing me?”
Puriel nodded, then he sank his face in his hands.
“I hesitated, because I thought I saw goodness in you, and it made me doubt. Now I understand it was a trick. You are the worst kind of evil. The invisible kind. The kind that thinks they are good, but doesn’t know any better. You lie so perfectly I saw no trace of deceit or malice in you. Only innocence, kindness, courage—”
“Zeus is the evil one,” I said. “He slaughtered his own family. Able told me—”
“Able,” Puriel repeated with a sad smile, “has told you nothing but lies. Even the name he’s given himself, it sounds so ordinary. So innocuous. It hides the truth of what he really is.”
“And what is he?” I asked nervously.
“He has many names. Father of Lies. Prince of Darkness. Ruler of the Underworld. In French he’s called Le Diable.”
My knees trembled as the world resonated in the small space. I’d heard those titles before… but they didn’t make any sense here. Those were titles for the Devil in Christian mythology. What did that have to do with Greek legend and mythology? A felt a sinking in the pit of my stomach as I realized the truth. Maybe I’d already known it. Le Diable—Able. I’d dined with the devil and didn’t even know it. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. The hunters could fly and had wings. They served their almighty Lord with pure obedience.
“You’re an angel,” I said, breathlessly.
“Some humans call us that,” he said. “We prefer the term Seraphim. We burn with the inexhaustible energy of Deus, like mirrors reflecting his power and glory.” He looked down at his hands in wonder, turning them over slowly. “I was Seraphim. Now I am nothing. Cast out. Defective. Unworthy. A broken vessel. Yesterday I could have melted through these chains.”
I felt sorry for him, even though he had been trying to kill me. In a twisted way, he’d sacrificed himself to save me. Even if he hadn’t done it on purpose, and even if he was regretting it now, I still felt a twinge of responsibility. My head was spinning as I reached for the door handle.
“Deus does not explain himself to the Seraphim,” he said quietly as I was leaving, “nor do we try to understand his will. But I can share what he called you, the name he used when he gave the order. Deicidium. From Deus, meaning god and cidium, which means cutting. In English, it would translate as godkiller.”
Hope you liked it! If you have read Scarlet Thread please add a review.
I’ve made it no secret that I’m writing YA literature based on a template. Yes, a lot of YA is formulaic. Yes, there are some tropes that get annoying when they’re repeated. And you don’t want to annoy readers.
However, I maintain that writers shouldn’t just try to avoid all cliches. Writing popular fiction, like crafting any powerful story, is based on fundamentals of story construction that go back thousands of years.
Books need conflict. And a lot of bestselling young adult fiction really aren’t that innovative. They’re the same old stories, but retold in a fresh way. I want to give young adult readers what they’ve come to expect of the genre, while delighting or surprising them by remixing common themes in a way they haven’t seen before.
So it’s a little annoying to have all my future works criticized (as I know they will be) for merely having a “love triangle.” It’s as if a love triangle is a superficial thing, incidental to the story, that can easily be removed.
Most of the time, it isn’t. Because stories are built on character, not just plot events. In just about every cop show, ever, there’s a girl and a guy in a platonic working relationship. That’s so each of them can have multiple other partners, which opens up more plot events. In young adult fiction, the number is usually three. In my estimation, it’s because you need a representative of two warring races/classes, and a hero who is the medium between them. It allows for maximal conflict.
Sometimes the heroine is a girl. In The 100, (if you’ve been watching season three) Clark is sort of split between Bellamy, who represents the SkyCrew, and Lexa, who represents the grounders. She needs to make peace between them.
In the Shannara Chronicles, Amberle is a princess elf, the last of her kind. Wil is a halfblood. He alone has the power to use a magic weapon. Eretria is a human orphan with a mysterious background. She has visions and “her blood is the key.”
In Shades of Blue, Jennifer xxx plays a dirty cop, pinned between an FBI agent who is trying to bring down her ring leader, and Wozniac. Neither, incidentally, is her love interest – she’s actually banging the lawyer who can keep her violent ex locked up for good. So sex isn’t necessarily part of the “love triangle” at all – although there’s something creepy and sexual brewing between her and the FBI agent, Wozniac is more like a father figure to her.
Yes there is some romance and dramatic tension happening between all the characters, which keeps things interesting, but they’re really not that important compared to the racial warfare happening around them.
So I find it a little flippant to discount any book since Twilight with the complaint that it has a “love triangle” anytime there are three main characters representing necessarily diverse points of view. The conflict shouldn’t just stem from petty jealousy, but the fear, distrust, hatred and desire should be structured around the more important stuff that has calamitous consequences for everyone else.
Twilight is an excellent book, because it did the love triangle well. Which is exactly why I think the phrase “love triangle” needs to be assigned a new definition. As is, it has come to represent amazing, well told stories that should not be discounted out of hand – where the alleged love triangle is really a necessary and interesting center of conflict between three major players.
This is simply good construction.
Love Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Peace, War, or aligning with either team.
It’s not fair to say, “Oh look, there are three characters, that must be heading towards a love triangle because they’re there” and then discrediting the book for that reason. If a book has a romantic interest flippantly, for no reason at all, which isn’t connected to the larger circumstances, then yes, that should be criticized. But that’s bad writing. It has nothing to do with the love triangle.
And I hate comments like “the love triangle was well done” or “poorly done”. Not everything is a fucking love triangle. If a girl has a love interest and another friend who likes her, but she doesn’t like him back in that way, is it still a love triangle? If she finds out one is her brother? If he’s actually an assassin sent to kill her or a prince in disguise? The story matters, not how many main characters there or how they feel about each other or whether they’re male or female and might develop feelings for each other.
Readers, stop hunting for love triangles and enjoy the story. If it’s poorly told, say so. Don’t discount it out of hand because some other critic says there’s a love triangle in there.
Authors, don’t avoid love triangles just because you think readers are sick of them; and don’t write them just because you think readers want them. Write what’s necessary to tell a great story, fill it with as much conflict as possible, and do things that readers have never seen before.
I started this giveaway on Valentine’s but have extended it so I can do only last push. This is for young adult readers only. Enter to win a corset from Versatile Corsets (an amazing, Portland Oregon business). My friend Janet is a “corset connoisseur” – she’ll help you shop. Winners will also get a big package of dark fantasy paranormal romance books I like. I chose them by their covers, rather than theme, but they’re all excellent reads.
There are lots of ways to earn entries, so do as many as you want to – also don’t forget to grab your special link in the “Share this Contest” field. You can share that on social media, with the images down below – you earn more entries every time someone signs up.
Double book launch
I’m using this giveaway to get the word out about my next two books, which are dark, pseudo-gothic fantasies. The Scarlet Thread is based on Greek mythology (like Percy Jackson) but becomes an angel romance (like Fallen). You can read a preview (it’s rough!) on Wattpad, or view it on Amazon.
Orpheum is a dark fantasy based on Eastern European mythology, Orphism and Pythagorean philosophy. With maenads and satyrs. I freaking love this cover, and I’m so excited I finally get to use it. The sparkle effect was better before but I couldn’t replicate it…
You can read a preview (it’s rough!) on Wattpad. Or view it on Amazon.
Both books will be free on March 12th – 13th. You can download them and review them if you like them.
You do not have to buy or review my books to enter the giveaway – you can also just share.
Dark Fantasy $400 Corset Giveaway
This giveaway is international, but if for any reason we can’t ship the corset to your country, you can swap for a $250 Amazon card.
Images you can share with your special link
You can download/upload this, or just highlight and copy+paste them straight into your WordPress post. Remember you can earn 20 entries just by doing a cover reveal and/or blogging about this giveaway. You can just copy+paste the covers or giveaway stuff to your site.
I’ll add the book descriptions down below.
The Scarlet Thread
My name Kaidance Monroe, and sometimes when I touch people, I see how they die. After I saw my little brother’s death but failed to stop it, my parents abandoned me to a juvenile detention facility. I don’t let people touch me anymore. Not my fingertips, not my skin, not my heart. I make my own clothes by stitching together the donations we get; usually a bunch of crap that fits like a parachute. My sweater is a patchwork of different shades of inky, dark squares. I make plain gray skirts that hang to my knees, with cute or funny T-shirts sewed in. They clash ironically with my unsmiling face. My Allstar high-tops are black and frayed, like my soul.
I also wear a chunk of brightly colored legos around my neck. My little brother was working on it the day he died. The day I failed to save him. It’s unfinished, so I’ll never know what it was meant to be. Most days, I just try to get by. But then I got a visit from a cute guy, who tricked me into giving up my secrets. He said I was special. That he needed me. For a while, I believed him. But once I found out what I could really do, I learned everybody wanted the power I possessed. The power to destroy deities. To kill gods. To end the world… or to save it. My heart is torn, and those I loved most betrayed me. I’m trying so hard to do what’s right, but nobody can tell me what that is anymore, and the moral boundaries I’d always let define my life have been shattered. Whose rules should I obey now? Or do I have to make my own?
The Scarlet Thread is a dark fantasy for fans of Greek mythology and Gothic romance. Fans of Fallen and Percy Jackson will be captivated by this mashup of fallen angels and forgotten gods.
Amazon link to use:
I always knew music was powerful. Even though I rebelled against the marathon forced practice sessions that turned my adolescence into a prison camp, there were moments—even in the mechanical repetition of practice—where I stopped being a robot and felt a kind of transcendence, a connection to something deeper.
I wasn’t raised to be religious, but in those fleeting spaces, often between beats in the tempo, my body seemed to go on playing by itself, while my awareness shifted to something greater. Almost like I was outside my body, sitting in the audience, feeling the music wash over me like a pounding surf, telling me to relax.
To let go. To give in.
But that was before I learned what music really was, and that it was capable of more than just pretty feelings and a mystical connection to a transcendental Other. That it was a weapon, which could cause great pain and destruction; that it was deeper and older than humanity; and that there were forces in the world that wanted to reclaim it for themselves.
Orpheum is a young adult dark fantasy romance based on Eastern European history, the myths and literature of Orpheus and Pythagoras’ theory of Musica Universalis, or the music of the spheres.
Amazon link to use:
PS) These are both “Part One” of new potential series. I do have them mapped out, but I wanted to get your reaction first and see whether you want to hear how the story ends. So if you like them enough to want to know what happens next, please let me know by reviewing them!
PPS) If you’re interested in getting an early ARC, and helping me to troubleshoot/fix any issues, you can sign up as a beta reader.
Like many people, been curious about mermaid intercourse since watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Now that I’m writing my first mermaid romance, I had to figure it out with science.
I don’t like paranormal romance books where you can’t understand the physics of love-making, and mermaid sex is a biological challenge.
It’s not like with minotaurs or centaurs, or other shifters, where you assume they have working genitalia between their legs somewhere. Mermen and women are shown with a fish tail up to their waist, leaving little room for spare parts.
The obvious solution is to have them breed with eggs: the female lays them, the man does his thing after. But that’s not very sexy or passionate. So how do merpeople hook up when they like each other?
The Shellfish Solution
To solve this problem, I just made my merpeople crustaceans. They have an exoskeleton over their lower body, which they molt.
He reached across the table and squeezed my hand. There was another question I was dying to ask, but I was a little afraid of the answer.
I finally worked up the courage and blurted out, “How do you… mate?”
His grin widened, he was enjoying himself.
“We come on land and remove our exoskeletons. Under our shells our organs are… nearly identical to humans. I’m sure you’ve heard the birds and the bees speech. If we want children, the females will stay in caves near shore until the eggs are ready, then go into the ocean and give birth. Young merrow are defenseless for the first few years, and need to be guarded and watched by the mother and father. After a few months, they’ll grow their first exo, but then they’ll need a new one every year for about twenty years. After that, they will stay virtually unchanged for decades.”
That solves the mating issue, and also gives them some uniquely awesome powers and abilities.
“In the ocean, with our exos on, we’re nearly invincible,” he smiled. “Hardly anything can puncture our shell, even our fists are protected by almost a centimeter of cartilage. We use them to break shells of other crustaceans, or fight off large ocean predators. Have you ever heard of the Mantis shrimp?”
I shook my head.
“We keep them as pets, they’re beautiful. Its punch is as strong as a gunshot; it’s so powerful and fast it boils the water around it. And their skin is so resilient, the military has been studying their cell structure to make advanced body armor.”
“So what you’re saying, basically, is that you’re a giant shrimp?” I couldn’t help teasing him. He smiled back at me.
“A very charming, handsome shrimp,” he replied.
Would you sleep with a mermaid?
If you did, what would you be worried about?
PS) If you want to read my novel, Shearwater, you can get it on Amazon.
This month I started at least five new books; probably because I’m in the editing stages of Shearwater and it’s frustrating. But also because, I keep finding images or art that is so fucking beautiful I have to use it.
This one was something I made for a client a couple years ago, but I revamped it and it’s so pretty… I’m reading “The Wilds” right now, which reminds me a bit of Tahereh Mafi’s “Shatter Me” – and I was already thinking I wanted to write a book that starts with a girl locked up.
I just wasn’t sure how it would go. But now that I have a cover, I was able to plot out the premise in 5 minutes. And it’s awesome. Somewhere between Lauren Kate‘s “Fallen” – an angel romance – and Shatter Me (but instead of hurting people when she touches them, she forsees their death).
Maybe I’ll write it for Nanowrimo, I need a break from Shearwater.