It’s that time of the year when I blog, i.e., obliged to by the publicity requirements of a book release. 😀

ConspiracyInBelgravia Cover

The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in the atmospheric second novel in USA Todaybestseller Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?

Here are some purchase links, in case I can interest you in a copy. 😀

Kindle: http://smarturl.it/belgravia

Nook: http://smarturl.it/belgravia-nook

iBooks: http://smarturl.it/belgravia-ibooks

Google: http://smarturl.it/belgravia-google

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/belgravia-kobo

Itunes: http://smarturl.it/belgravia-itunes

Audible: http://smarturl.it/belgravia-audible


SIGHT UNSEEN is available!

I have a new story out! If you haven’t heard about the Sight Unseen anthology, you can read more about it in a blog post I wrote for All About Romance. In short, five authors, five stories, our names on the cover, but not attached to our stories on the inside. And our stories fall a little outside what we normally write.

So it’s all a guessing game for the next three months, until we reveal who wrote what.

Obviously I can’t give hints, but I can say that I love my contribution and that it is very much a romance. Squee!

So get in on the game and get your hands on a copy:

Kindle | Kobo| Nook | iBooks

And yes, it’s available in print. Amazon | B&N

I hope you enjoy the anthology as much as I have enjoyed working on it. And I hope you’ll guess which one is my story!


TheOneInMyHeart_300x450What exactly does that title refer to? I’m beginning to think it’s to this book, and its place in my heart.

Here’s what I wrote in a private-group Facebook post almost exactly a month ago:

I woke up this morning wondering if I’d ever have another experience as wonderful as writing my little contemporary. It has been a joy, almost a euphoria, every step of the way.

For eight years I’d worked on and off on this story. It used to be my break book–the one I wrote between other deadlines for the sheer pleasure of writing. And because I can’t judge my own work, when I sent it to my agent, she hated its guts. I liked it so much I had to send to someone else to have it confirmed that my agent was right.

That was probably about five years ago. The manuscript sat idle for a couple of years, then I slowly started to get into it again, rewriting it from scratch, changing everything but the characters’ names and maybe a bit of the hero’s backstory. 

Last year I finally got serious about finishing it for publication. The editorial process started in January. Except for a fan I asked to beta read for medical stuff, everyone wanted everything changed! And yet throughout it all, the joy remained constant. No actually, the joy increased day by day. 

Usually at this point of the process–two days from submitting it for proofreading–I’m wrung out, physically and emotionally, and only the fear of putting out a bad book keeps me slogging along. But this one, oh this one. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to play games. I don’t want to do anything but immerse myself in it.

Sometimes I think to myself, this book doesn’t have to do anything except earn back the money I spent on cover and editing. And then I’m like, no, it doesn’t even have to do that. If this kind of happiness can be bought, I’d have gladly paid for it.

Sigh. The Chinese say, there’s no feast that lasts forever. But I’m going back to my feast now, while a few crumbs still remain on the table.

Sigh. THE ONE IN MY HEART–which is truly the one in my heart–releases today.

Bestselling historical romance author Sherry Thomas branches out with her first contemporary romance about a chance meeting a lifetime in the making, and an all-consuming affair without a single predictable moment.

When Evangeline Canterbury meets the gorgeous, intriguing doctor next door, despite their instant connection, all she wants from him is a bit of distraction, to help her get over a few rough days.

Her one-night stand, however, has other plans: He needs an accomplished and presentable girlfriend to bring before his parents—and for six months of her time, he is willing and prepared to spend an obscene amount of money.

Nothing but trouble can come of such an arrangement. But can Eva stop herself? Or will she fall headlong in love with a man who will leave her when their contract expires with a smile, a check, and hardly a backward glance?

As usual, there is more to the story than meets the eye at the blurb. You can read an excerpt here. And you can purchase it at Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Google, and Kobo. And yes, there is a print-on-demand version already available.

I hope this book will find a place in your heart too.

Fall YA Scavenger Hunt

Hello and welcome to

the Fall 2014 YA


scavenger hunt

I am Sherry Thomas, your host for this leg of the hunt. (Don’t forget to enter my bonus contest below, while you are here.)


About Me

I love reading while I eat–or is it eating while I read?

I drink super-weak tea. My friends say it’s just slightly dirty water.

Someday I would like to write a book while lazing on the shores of Lake Como.

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!


Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM–but there is also a red team, a blue team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). HINT: The secret number is highlighted in GOLD.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 5, 2014, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Now that you know exactly what to do, let me introduce the author I am hosting, the lovely and talented 

Kate Karyus Quinn

Kate Karyus Quinn Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and a menthol ChapStick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would . . . build character. She is also the author of Another Little Piece. To find out more about Kate and her books, visit her website, follow her on twitter, and connect with her on Goodreads.

The book Kate Karyus Quinn is showcasing on the YA Scavenger Hunt is


don't you forget about me
Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies . . . of natural causes.

But there’s a price to pay for paradise. Every four years, the strange power that fuels the town takes its toll and a teenager commits a horrible crime—a crime that sends other teens to their graves. And every four years, the killer is locked up in the reformatory, only to emerge years later, a shell of their former self.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was taken away after leading her classmates onto the trestle bridge and commanding them to jump to their deaths. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, waiting for Piper to be released. But the secrets Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to truly get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.



For the YA Scavenger Hunt Kate’s editor has given her permission to give an exclusive first sneak peek of her next book, DOWN WITH THE SHINE, coming in early 2016 from HarperTeen!



“I gave you my name for a reason, Lennie. It might not be worth much now, but someday, someday real soon, I’m gonna make it so Cash is a name nobody ever forgets. I’m serious, Lennie. People are gonna remember us, and they’ll look at us different because of it too.”

When I was a little kid, I didn’t get tucked into bed with a story or a song, but instead the ravings of my father. The nightly routine ended on my sixth birthday. That’s the day when he made the nightly news for the first time and they re-christened Leonard Cash the Bad Daddy Bandit.

Over the next two months Daddy and I crisscrossed the country on a hold-em-up-shoot-em-down robbing spree. With me in tow, he took down six banks, three toy stores, and killed two people who’d gotten in his way before finally getting pinned down at a Chuck E. Cheese. Daddy got away by taking the guy inside the mouse costume as a hostage. They found me hours later, burrowed deep in the ball pit, still waiting for Daddy’s all-clear whistle.

The only place I’ve seen him since then is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted webpage.

All that was eleven years ago, but that’s not the sort of story that people forget. Maybe if I’d become some super-smart honors student nerd or a chipper rah-rah leadership council type or a sporty girl whose addition to any team meant it was headed for the trophy rounds, maybe then they’d think of it a little less often. But I’ve had adults call me the devil’s spawn to my face and the kids at school find even more creative ways of making me miserable. So mostly I just look like your typical sullen angry teenager.

Except I’m not your typical teenager. I’m Lennie Cash and most people think it’s just a matter of time before my daddy comes back for me and then the two of us pick up where we left off at the Chuck E. Cheese oh so many years ago.

And that famous name is a big part of why at this exact moment, instead of dividing my time in English class between clock-watching and trying to figure out exactly how those two crazy kids, Romeo and Juliet, managed to mess things up so badly, I’m sitting in the principal’s office while she and a cop give me the ‘bad blood will tell’ glare.

This is the third time I’ve been called down to the office for one of these sessions since my best friend, Dylan, went missing two weeks ago.

The first meeting was more of a “we’re all on the same team” informal type of chat. That’s when we all thought Dyl was a runaway. I told them I didn’t know anything, which was half-true and that I hadn’t heard from her, which was totally true. When I left the room, I’d only caught the slightest whiff of “of course the Cash kid is involved with this.”

Things were a little more serious the second time. This was after they’d found Dylan’s car at a rather infamous bar on the outskirts of town. They asked me if Dylan went there a lot. If I’d ever been there. Mostly they were fishing, waiting for me to slip up. Or at least that’s the only reason I can think of for why they never came right out and said anything about the rumors that Leonard Cash had been supposedly spotted at this bar more than a few times and that some even said he might be the owner.

The one thing they didn’t skirt around was asking about the very public fight I’d had with Dylan the day before she disappeared. “I heard you were very angry,” my principal, Mrs. Kneeley, said, trying to look concerned.

“Well, yeah, we were fighting,” I answered, sounding sarcastic and, yes, angry.

A lawyer probably would have told me to keep my mouth shut. But I didn’t have one of those or anyone else. My mom and her three brothers were my official guardians, but none of them were the school meeting types.

Which meant that if Dyl didn’t show up real soon, I could see this getting real ugly for me. Still I kept my mouth shut and insisted I didn’t remember what the fight was about. I was trying to protect Dylan, trying to give her time to do whatever crazy thing she thought she needed to do before they found her and dragged her back home.

In my own way, I was trying to make up for that fight. For saying things I shouldn’t have.

Now though, I think it may be too late cause the cop and Mrs. Kneeley look dead serious. I know without them telling me, that we’re not fucking around anymore.

The cop leans forward and hands me a Ziploc bag with a piece of paper inside.

The paper is yellowed with age and red with…

Not blood. Please tell me it is anything but blood.

“You recognize this?” the cop asks. Actually his name is Detective Otto. He’s introduced himself each time we’ve done this, but I still just think of him as the cop.

I look past the red smears, to the words.

Yes, I recognize this paper. And I know exactly where they found it.

“It’s mine,” I tell him. “From when I went to camp a few years ago.”

Actually it was more like seven years. I’d begged my uncles to send me, thinking I could spend a week with a bunch of kids who didn’t know my name. Of course, the counselors recognized my name and figured everything else out pretty quickly… and then it slowly trickled down to every kid there. At the end of two weeks, after being caught at the center of the first brawl in Camp Onawanta history, I came home with my official happy camper certificate shoved into my suitcase. It said: Lennie Cash earned the following Camp Onawanta badges:_____________. Instead of writing on that line how I’d learned to ride a horse or dive into the lake, the camp director had written: I’m sorry but I don’t think Lennie and Camp Onawanta are a good fit. She will not be allowed back next year.

I never showed it to my uncles, I just crumpled it up and shoved it under the ripped lining of the suitcase. Now seeing it again, I feel the old shame and embarrassment come up, filling my throat. I want to grab the paper from the cop and rip it to pieces, but he’s already tucking the plastic enclosed piece of my past into his manila folder.

“Do you know where we found this?” he asks.

I nod. “In my old suitcase. Dylan borrowed it.”

A few weeks before she disappeared, Dyl found the suitcase at the back of my closet, where it had sat since that disastrous camp experience, and declared it, “Awesomely vintage.” I gifted it to her on the spot.

“Do you know where we found that suitcase?” the cop leaned in, his voice hard.

“No.” I whispered the word, suddenly afraid. The red stains. This new urgent angry tone.

Something was wrong. Or worse than wrong. I wasn’t worried about Dyl before this moment. She is tough and fearless and… reckless. It now occurs to me that maybe I should have been worried. Dyl is the exact type of person to be stamped with an early expiration date.

Done with playing it cool, I lean in towards the cop. “Is Dylan in trouble? Did you find her?”

In the moment before he answers, I say a quick prayer. Not one in the traditional sense, but more like playing Let’s Make a Deal with God—or whatever it is out there that keeps the world spinning. If Dylan returns in one piece, I’ll destroy my uncles’ distillery and shut down their moonshine making operation. If I were God, I’d think that was a pretty good deal. My uncles’ moonshine has been the cause of countless troubles and sorrows; seems like nipping it in the bud would save him a whole lot of headaches.

“Yeah, you could say that we found her,” the Cop looks angry and too late I figure out he’s one of those people who hates me on principal.

Still, he’s the guy with the answers, so I ask, “She okay?”

“What do you think?” He asks and then pulls out another paper from his folder and slaps it down in front of me.

This is the moment when God laughs at my stupid little deal. When he tells me where I can shove it.

Because what I see isn’t a paper, but a photograph. At first I can’t make sense of the image. The purple plaid of Dyl’s favorite flannel shirt mixed with red red red and then feet and her dyed black hair and a hand…

My brain actually refuses to understand exactly what I’m seeing until the cop helpfully adds, “Or most of her anyway.”

“Detective!” Mrs. Kneeley, looking as sick as I feel, reaches past him to flip the photo over and hide it from view.

She’s too late, though. Much too late.

And that’s how I find out that my battered old suitcase, patched up with duct tape and kept closed only with the help of an old leather belt, now carries the butchered remnants of my best friend.


If that doesn’t give you


kinds of shivers, I don’t know what does! Brava, Kate. You can buy (DON’T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME at Amazon, B&N, and Powell’s.


Thank you so much for being part of the YA Scavenger Hunt and for allowing me to be your host.


Because THE HIDDEN BLADE, the book I am showcasing during YASH, features a girl learning to be a deadly martial arts expert, for an extra bonus entry, answer this question on the blog: If you were a kickass martial arts expert, what would be your weapon of choice? a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ready to move on to the next stop of the hunt?

Your Link

It’s Release Day again: The Perilous Sea and Seven Wicked Nights this time

I feel like I’ve been announcing book releases a lot recently and maybe I have. But well, here are some more. 🙂


Look at that gorgeous cover. Yes, I am in a limited time, ebook-only box set. Seven awesome authors, seven sexy tales, 170,000 words in the collection and guess what, it’s yours for only 99 cents! What are you waiting for? Grab your copy before the set disappears.

Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Nook | Google | Kobo | iBooks


And now the book with the best cover of my career. Is that not gorgeous? And it’s been getting rave reviews. Of course, it’s book 2 of a trilogy, so you’ll need to have read THE  BURNING SKY. But if you already have, then go ahead and devour THE PERILOUS SEA.

Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Nook | Google | Kobo | iBooks

And if you haven’t read THE BURNING SKY yet, this is a perfect time to start.

Okay, now back to writing more books for you. 🙂

The Hidden Blade, My Beautiful Enemy, and Summer 2014

Okay, business first.

My Beautiful Enemy releases today! Yay! But very importantly, if you haven’t yet, please read its prequel/companion volume, The Hidden Blade, first. You can absolutely read MBE on its own. But because I love you and want you to have the best of everything, I am telling you that you will thank me to have read the two in order–it’s just even richer and more multi-layered that way.

Besides, The Hidden Blade is only 99 cents right now. It will go up to its regular price of $3.99 in two weeks, so get it cheap while you can!

The Hidden Blade: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google | iBooks

My Beautiful Enemy: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google | iBooks

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon meets Downton Abbey, that’s what we have in this duology.




Okay, now a few pictures from my summer.

Confession time. Until this past June, I’ve never been to the UK. But His Hawtness had a business trip there and we decided to make a vacation out of it. When I have more time I’ll do a more complete picture post, but let me just say, the highlight of our trip was the southwest coast of England.

I learned about the beauty of it during my research for His at Night. And the coast of Devon–specifically, the stretch around the Hangman Cliffs–was absolutely spectacular. I started to scheme how I can go back even before I’d left–and I haven’t stopped scheming since. I mean, look at this:


Is that not magnificent? And of course photos don’t do the scale of the place justice. Not to mention Nick and Rachel, our hosts at Blair Lodge Guest House in Combe Martin, were absolutely marvelous. If you are ever in the area, I cannot recommend them highly enough.

In July I had the good fortune of being invited to participate in a couple of events by the Irving Pubic Library in the Dallas Forth Worth area. I don’t expect big crowds at library events, but oh boy, the Irving Public Library certainly proved me wrong. Their YA events were jam-packed, and their afternoon tea for grown-up readers boasted some of the best table decorations I’ve ever seen.


Alas, my picture fails to convey the intricacy of the Sherlock Holmes-themed table–you can barely see the stickman alphabet and other intricate items that had been drawn on the tablecloth. And you can’t see at all the tweed coats that were draped over the back of each chair.

And of course, there is also the RWA national conference in San Antonio. I finished The Hidden Blade in the nick of time for me to pack for nationals–and had just a phenomenal time there. I attended a lovely dinner thrown by the fantastic Rachel Hollis of The Chic Site, witnessed my first ever game of Cards Against Humanity, and hugged more people than I can count–I have totally become a hugger in my middle age.

Wish I had more time for a more detailed post but for now I’ll just leave you with this, the gorgeous Emily McKay and I in our fine frocks for RITA night–gold glitter eyeliner all the way!


I hope you enjoy The Hidden Blade and My Beautiful Enemy!



The Spring 2014 Omnibus

1) First things first.

I have a free story for you.



It’s Fitzhugh Trilogy #0.5, a story of about 6,500 words.  Here’s the blurb:

Clarissa, the widowed Duchess of Lexington, has two great loves: the reticent and reclusive Mr. James Kingston and her faithful correspondent Miss Julia Kirkland, whom Clarissa has never met. 

Now both Mr. Kingston and Miss Kirkland are due to arrive at Clarissa’s house—and Clarissa is about to find out that nothing of either is as she has been led to believe…

And did I mention that it’s FREE? You can get it for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and your iDevice. You can also, if you’d prefer, download it as a pdf here.


2) Phew, it’s been crazy busy.

I’ve been bouncing between various drafts of MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY, the upcoming historical romance, and THE PERILOUS SEA, sequel to THE BURNING SKY, my YA fantasy.  Now THE PERILOUS SEA is all done—the galleys were turned in on April 3.  And I finished copyedits and final revisions on MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY on April 22.

You may or may not know that MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY is what I’ve long referred to as my martial-arts semi-epic.  Or more precisely, it’s the second half of it, the romance half.  The actual semi-epic spans nearly twenty-years and I am planning to self-publish the first half, which is less a romance than a historical YA.

My hope is to get it out slightly before MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY–it is a prequel, after all.  But we’ll see whether I manage it. It is only half-done writing wise, and it doesn’t even have a title or a cover yet.  But it does have a webpage where you can read an excerpt. How’s that for priorities?  🙂

And if you haven’t seen the covers for my two confirmed 2014 releases, here they are.



3) Audio covers


I recently listened to THE BURNING SKY, in preparation for THE PERILOUS SEA’s galleys–I wanted to make sure that there were no continuity errors whatsoever.  And boy, I loved it.  I cooked tons, my house was spic-and-span, and I even pulled all the weeds from the yard.  🙂


Audio for LUCKIEST LADY happened super fast.  Tantor offered for the rights in the beginning of February, and by March it was already available!


This one is not out yet, but I figure it won’t be too long now, since we already have the cover.

4) Foreign covers

But of course.  🙂

Russian Beguiling the Beauty


Russian Ravishing the Heiress
Russian Ravishing the Heiress


Russian Tempting the Bride
Russian Tempting the Bride

Russian covers.  Instantly recognizable.  🙂 And now two French ones.

French Ravishing the Heiress
French Ravishing the Heiress


French Tempting the Bride
French Tempting the Bride

The girl in French TEMPTING THE BRIDE looks a bit like Emma Stone to me. Now a few covers from the Far East.

Tempting the Bride Taiwan
Tempting the Bride Taiwan

I love the title for the complex Chinese edition of Tempting the Bride.  It is Lake Sahara, which is a wonderful allusion to David’s hopes and dreams.

Private Arrangements Taiwan
Private Arrangements Taiwan

The title for the above is quite sexy, something along the lines of Bedchamber Tryst. It reminds me that I realized, years after the fact, that any romance with the word “private” in the title–unless it refers to a soldier–is basically signaling “here be nooky”. 🙂

Vietnamese Beguiling the Beauty
Vietnamese Beguiling the Beauty

I can never find bigger images of my Vietnamese editions.

And now, last but not least, because it’s the first foreign cover for Luckiest Lady, I present you, Love something Knowledge something Marquess. (Alas I can only read Kanji and can’t extract the full title to put through Google Translate.)  🙂

Japanese The Luckiest Lady in London
Japanese The Luckiest Lady in London

And that’s it for this edition of the omnibus.  🙂

Content NOT in THE BURNING SKY Advance Copies

September 16, 2013

The three last endnotes today.

[23] The golden age of elemental magic is generally considered to have ended nearly a millennium ago with the passing of Leopold Sidorov and Manami Kaneshiro, who spent their careers in a virulent rivalry and died in a duel that killed both, along with a number of unfortunate spectators. 

Hundreds of years went by without the next truly great elemental mage coming along.  It had become accepted wisdom that another one would never be witnessed when Hesperia the Magnificent came into her powers, one of the greatest among the great.

It rather gives us hope that we might yet see an immensely formidable elemental mage in our lifetime.

—From The Lives and Deeds of Great Elemental Mages

[22] The establishment of a permanent no-vaulting zone require a heavy initial investment of time—it cannot be hurried.  The setting up of a temporary no-vaulting zone, however, requires not time, but labor.

A few friends on a camping trip can manage a temporary no-vaulting zone around their tent in about an hour.  A few dozen friends can do the same for a small public park, to have themselves a party—provided they first secure the permits, of course.  Armies, with their much larger number of mages on hand, have been known to turn small cities into temporary no-vaulting zones overnight.

—From The Art and Science of Magic: A Primer

[21] The wyvern is the rare carnivore that consents to being domesticated.  But wyverns born in captivity tend to be slower and less ferocious.  This is fine for mages who wish to keep wyverns as pets, but unsatisfactory for mages who race wyverns or those looking for a fierce guard dragon.

Wyverns born and raised in the wild and subsequently tamed are, therefore, far more desirable.  It has become the established practice of stable masters to sneak eggs from their prize wyverns into the aeries of feral wyverns, then later track down the juvenile wyverns at a stage just short of maturity to tame and bring back into the fold.

—From The Dragon Watcher’s Field Guide

September 15, 2013

[20] It is difficult to predict how powerful a child elemental mage will become.  A toddler elemental mageling who can shift the foundation of a house in a rage may be able to lift no more than a quarter ton block of stone as an adult. 

Sometimes the reverse is true. An elemental mage who can move no more than a quarter ton block of stone under normal circumstances may very well manage to lift something twenty times heavier when his or her life depends on it. 

—From The Lives and Deeds of Great Elemental Mages

September 14, 2013

[19] As anyone who had read a story of misunderstanding knows, overhearing part of a conversation, without the proper context, can lead to devastatingly mistaken conclusions. 

For that reason, among seers, those who see future in long, unbroken stretches are considered far more gifted than those to whom only quick flashes are revealed, as short, chaotic glimpses are much more prone to misinterpretations, if they can be deciphered at all.

Even rarer are seers who can view the same set of future events repeatedly, allow them to notice greater texture and details with each iteration.  Such visions become the most unambiguous sign posts along the otherwise unpredictably swerving road that is the forward progress of time.

            —From When Will it Rain and How Much: Visions Both Luminous and Ordinary

September 13, 2013

[18] The power of a potent mind mage is often compared to that of a drill, boring through the skull to reach its quarry.  But the truth is slightly more complex.  In a probe, the mind of a mind mage, though dominant, is in a sense as exposed as the mind of its prey, as vulnerable as it is devastating.  

—From The Art and Science of Magic: A Primer

September 12, 2013

[17] The Bane’s public embrace of mind mages marked a watershed event in his ascendance.  Until then, mind mages, even those valued as tools of torture and extraction, had always been kept out of the view, not acknowledged and certainly never honored.

But the Bane brought them out in the open and gave them some of the highest offices of his empire.  And not just those of Atlantean birth, but mind mages from many realms, in the secure knowledge that their first loyalty would always be to him, who elevated them to positions of trust and distinction, and not to the native realms which had treated them with fear and loathing.

From A Chronological Survey of the Last Great Rebellion

September 11, 2013

[16] The Coalition for Safer Magic and The League of Sensible Parenting—henceforth referred to as the undersigned—hereby petition the High Council of the Domain to remove all mentions of mage-to-animal transmogrification from textbooks intended for primary and secondary educational establishments.

Each year, dozens of young magelings, piqued by the allusion in these textbooks, attempt such transmogrifications.  They concoct dreadful, frequently toxic potions, misapply spells, and cause fires and explosions at home and at school—not to mention harm to their persons.

In this past winter alone, there had been a mageling unable to breathe normally from having grown gills, another turned nearly blind after acquiring bat vision, and a third who lost all his hair by molting.  That the cases have been reversible do not mitigate their severity.

            —From Petition No. 4391, lodged with the High Council of the Domain 21 April, 1029

September 10, 2013 (One week from release)

[15] It bears remembering that advances in magic do not always follow a linear progression: Some developments commonly regarded as modern are but recent rediscoveries of what had come before.  Court physicians for the rulers of Mesopotamia, for example, had formulated entire classes of prophylactic spells.  The spells were eventually lost to war, fire, and other ravages of Fortune, but records survived to attest to their miraculous effectiveness. 

To consider a more current example, magical historians have argued for years that the venture-book, perhaps the most successful magical application in a generation, is but a commercial adaptation of devices that had been employed for centuries by the House of Elberon to instruct and train its young heirs, especially in times of adversity.  Newly unveiled documents concerning the Last Great Rebellion seem to indicate that Prince Titus VII indeed had at his disposal devices that performed many of the functions of present-day venture-books, except better.

   —From the article “Everything Old is New Again”, in the Delamer Observer, 2 December 

September 9, 2013

[14] It cannot be stressed enough that blood magic is not the same as sacrificial magic.  Sacrificial magic, needless to say, has always been taboo in mage realms.  Mages who choose to break the taboo usually do so among nonmages, manipulating local religious rituals to suit their own ends. 

Blood magic does not require the taking of lives or the severing of body parts.  Furthermore, its spells, contrary to popular belief, do not drain the body.  Only a very minute amount of blood is needed to power a spell and that blood must come from willing participants.  Forcibly spilled blood neither keeps secrets nor binds anyone in oaths.

—From The Art and Science of Magic: A Primer

September 8, 2013

[13] The following is a reproduction of a January Uprising-era underground pamphlet.

We have ill news from our friends on the Subcontinent.  The offensive in the Hindu Kush has failed catastrophically.  Survivors report of Atlantean aerial vehicles of type never before seen, armored and enclosed chariots that repel every known assault spell. 

To make matters a hundred times worse, the armored chariots spray a deadly potion in its wake.  The potion is clear and odorless.  Many of the resistance fighters on the ground first believed it to be natural precipitation and believed the demise of their colleagues to be casualties of battle.  But afterwards, when massive civilian deaths were tallied in the armored chariots’ flight paths, our friends had no choice but to conclude that Atlantis had unveiled a terrifying new weapon, death rain.

—From A Chronological Survey of the Last Great Rebellion

September 7, 2013

[12] Last week’s confirmation by the Citadel that Princess Ariadne is indeed expecting her first child ended months of speculation—and raised even more questions.

The decree governing succession to the crown specify only that an inheritor should be a firstborn child of the lineage of Titus the Great.  No mention is made of legitimacy.

With a few notable exceptions, most princely bastards have refrained from staking a claim to the throne.  But the Observer’s sources believe that Princess Ariadne intends to declare her firstborn an heir of the House of Elberon.

The declaration, should it come, would not be challenged on grounds of legality.  But most mages surveyed by the Delamer Observer are of the opinion that they deserve to know the paternity of a future ruling prince or princess.  The princess’s steadfast refusal to name the father of her child has damaged her erstwhile pristine reputation.  Rumors brew and froth, many casting doubt on both the princess’s character and her fitness to rule.

—From “The Princess’s Hurdle,” The Delamer Observer, 8 June, Year of the Domain 1014

September 6, 2013

[11] Not much will be said of otherwise charms here, given that they are both too advanced for the scope of this book and, more importantly, illegal. 

Love philters are often mistakenly pronounced the best known examples of otherwise magic.  The effects of love philters, however violent, are temporary.  The effects of true otherwise charms, on the other hand, are semi-permanent to permanent.  And they seek not to alter emotions and short-term behaviors, but perceived facts.  In other words, they are campaigns of misinformation.

Fortunately, it is not easy to implement otherwise spells.  If Mr. Stickyfingers is a known thief, no otherwise spell will not change that perception.  Nor will otherwise magic help someone already suspected of lying.  Otherwise spells are only effective when 1) the intended audience is entirely unwary and 2) the misinformation disseminated does not run counter to established facts.

—From The Art and Science of Magic: A Primer

September 5, 2013

[10] Do you need a wand?  The short answer is, no, you do not.  The working of a spell requires only intent and action, and it has been conclusively proven that mouthing or speaking the words of a spell constitutes action. 

Why then do we still use wands?  One reason is heritage: We have wielded wands for so long it seems almost rude to stop.  Another is habit: Mages are accustomed and attached to their wands.  But more practically, the wand acts as an amplifier.  Spells are more powerful and more effective when performed with a wand—reason enough to find one that fits well in your hand.

—From The Art and Science of Magic: A Primer

September 4, 2013

[9] It took more than fifty years after vaulting was first achieved for the general mage population to accept that vaulting is not a universal ability.  Until then, it was believed that with earlier and better training, and an ever-burgeoning collection of vaulting aids, every mage could be taught to vault.  Nervous parents regularly enrolled children as young as three in vaulting classes, for fear that should the tots start any later, they would grow up to be emus—flightless birds—disdained by their peers.  Medical literature of the day recorded multiple instances of dangerously premature labor, brought on by expectant mothers hitching too many vaults in misguided attempts to inculcate the process in the minds of their gestating babies.

But before society at large could accept that vaulting was not possible for every mage, it had to first accept that mages who could vault often did not vault very far.  In the heady early years of vaulting, mages were convinced their vaulting range would continue to improve, as long as they continued to practice.  When these pioneers began to be thwarted by personal limits, they attributed it to late starts, incorrect training, and a flawed understanding of the principles of vaulting—and encourage the next generation to push harder and more astutely.

The best data currently available suggest that between seventy-five to eighty percent of adult mages are capable of vaulting.  Of those, more than ninety percent have a one-time vaulting range of less than fifteen miles.  Only a quarter can tolerate consecutive vaults, the rest must wait at least twelve hours between vaults.

Moreover, it is now known that vaulting exacerbates pre-existing medical conditions.  Expectant mothers, the infirm, the elderly, and those recovering from serious illness should refrain from vaulting.  In rare instances, vaulting has been known to cause grave consequences in otherwise healthy individuals.

   —From The Mage’s Household Guide to Health and Wellness

September 3, 2013

[8] A quick word on countersigns before we move on to our first section of spells. 

The spells in this and many other textbooks do not have countersigns.  But no one ever became archmage using spells that can be found in public libraries.  Heirloom spells and cutting edge spells, considered far more powerful, usually operated with an incantation that can be said aloud—and therefore overheard by others—and a countersign that is never uttered, to preserve the secrecy of the spell. 

By the same token, countersigns are also sometimes used with passwords, to maximize the latter’s effectiveness and security.

—From The Art and Science of Magic: A Primer


September 2, 2013

[7] Magelings with elemental powers present additional challenges to parents and caregivers, there is no disputing that.  Most young children give into temper tantrums at least once in a while.  But a toddler elemental mage in a screaming fit is liable to shift a house from its foundation or choke the air from a playmate’s lungs–without ever meaning to.  And even when elemental magelings grow older, they might still inadvertently let their powers get the better of them.

In this chapter we aim to present a comprehensive list of training techniques for disrupting the direct connection between an elemental magelings’ anger and his or her instincts to turn to the elements.  It has been repeatedly pointed out that violence is hardly the best substitute, but until we learn how to perfectly control small children’s emotions, their tiny fists will remain preferable to their—at times—disproportionally immense powers.

            —from The Care and Feeding of Your Elemenal Mageling

September 1, 2013

[6] New Atlantis’s rise as a dominant mage power was, in many ways, a surprising event.

The island, while big—nearly twice the size of the Domain—is ill suited to large-scale civilization.  The volcanic frenzy behind its creation was too recent, its interior too steep and angular.  Much of the ground is basalt, arduous to walk upon, impossible to cultivate.  Sea life, astonishingly abundant when mages first set foot on the island, came dangerously close to irreversible depletion at several points in its eight-hundred-year history.

Two hundred of these eight hundred years, in fact, were known as the Famine Centuries.  The isolation of the island, the relative primitiveness of long-distance transportation of the era, and wide-spread corruption among members of the royal clan made aid campaigns mounted by other mage realms largely ineffectual.  At the end of the Famine Centuries, population on the island had plunged by at least seventy percent. 

The Bane is believed to have been born during the last decade of the Famine Centuries, into a devastated, lawless society.  Whether he would have still become the single most influential mage on earth had he come of age in a more prosperous realm, we can only speculate.  But there is no doubt that the chaos and deprivations of his youth influenced his desire for order and control throughout his career.

     —from Empire: The Rise of New Atlantis

August 31, 2013

[5] Soon after the advent of vaulting, mages realized that this revolutionary new means of travel presented a serious problem to the security of public institutions and private households alike.  A mage who has seen the interior of a building can vault back into it any time, which quite defeats the purpose of having walls in the first place.

A series of ingenious—and sometimes laughable—solutions came into being.  Who can forget the Nevor-Same™ Home, which changed the colors of a house’s walls and furnishing after every visitor?  Randomly, one might add, leading to some of the ugliest interiors ever to assault a mage’s eyes.

Nowadays we enjoy advanced and discreet spells to protect our dwellings from ill-intentioned vaulters. The spells listed in this section, when implemented properly, are guaranteed to repel any unauthorized attempt to vault into your home.*

*None of these spells, singly or in combination, work when a quasi-vaulter is involved.  Therefore we are terribly glad that quasi-vaulters have become virtually impossible to find.

            —From Advice to the Novice Householder

August 30, 2013

[4] These days, the term “beauty witch” has become quite diluted.

On the one hand, the leading ladies of stage and fashion are sometimes referred to as beauty witches.  On the other hand, it has also become an euphemism for prostitutes, much to the annoyance of beauty witches who considered themselves far above such common strumpets.

            For the purposes of this book, we shall cleave to the classic definition of beauty witch: a woman of great beauty and elegant taste who is well versed in music, literature, and art and can converse intelligently on most topics under the sun.  She may or may not depend economically on the generosity of a protector, but she has no profession other than that of her personal attractions.

            —From Sublime Loveliness: The Seven Most Celebrated Beauty Witches of All Time

August 29, 2013

[3] The separation of mage and nonmage populations has never been absolute, on account of vestigial mage communities that either opted not to join a larger mage society or subsequently left. 

The nonmages, with their burgeoning advances in science and technology, may someday pose a threat to magekind.  But throughout history, the greatest menace to mages has always been other mages.  Never was a successful witch-hunt mounted without the cooperation of mages willing to turn on their own.  For that reason, mages who dwell among nonmages are subject to the strictest regulation.

The Exiles from the January Uprising presented a curious scenario.  By the time revolt had been quelled, there were no other mage realms to which its sympathizers could flee: Atlantis was the master of the entire mage world.  So they chose instead to live among nonmages and to plot their return therein.

—From A Chronological Survey of the Last Great Rebellion

August 28, 2013

[2] The Domain’s classification as a principality rather than a kingdom has often confused mages. It is certainly not a micro-realm: At more than one hundred thousand square miles in area, it is one of the largest mage realms on Earth—and historically, one of the most influential.

Legend has it that the night before his coronation, Titus the Great, the unifier of the Domain, had a dream in which a voice cried, “The King is dead and his house fallen.”  To avoid that fate, he had himself crowned Master of the Realm, styled His Serene Highness, a prince instead of a king. The ruse worked: He lived to a ripe old age and his house has endured.  Today, when most other monarchs and princes are figureheads without actual power, the House of Elberon remains that rare phenomenon among mage realms: a ruling dynasty.

            —From The Domain: A Guide to Its History and Customs

August 27, 2013

I read Dune at a young and impressionable age. And one of the things I remember very clearly about the book was that each chapter opened with a short excerpt from a fictional history/encyclopedia/etc. That struck me as beyond cool. So any time I have tried my hand at SFF, I have always done the same. And The Burning Sky was, of course, no exception.

But we debated where to put these world-building tidbits. First they were chapter openers, then they became footnotes. In the end, they became endnotes. Because we took so long to come to that decision, the endnotes were not in the advance copies of the book.

So here then is content that is new, even for folks who have read the advance copies.

(I will be adding one endnote to this post every day, until I run out of them.  And I will add reference pages once I have final copies in my possession.)

[1] For centuries historians and magical theorists have debated the correlation between the rise of subtle magic and the decline of elemental magic.  Were they merely parallel developments or did one cause the other?  An agreement may never come, but we do know that the decline has affected not only the number of elemental mages—from approximately three percent of the mage population to less than one percent—but also the power each individual elemental mage wields over the elements.

Presently, quarry workers still regularly lift twenty-ton blocks of stone, the record of the decade being one hundred thirty-five tons by a single mage.  But most elemental mages make few uses of their dwindling powers and are capable of little more than parlor tricks.  All the more astonishing as we look back upon the great elemental mages of an earlier age, those individuals who set mountains in perpetual motion and destroyed—and created—entire realms.

—From The Lives and Deeds of Great Elemental Mages 

Summer 2013 Mishmash

Cuz there is no unifying theme to the post, other than that it’s about the various whatnots of Summer 2013.

RWA 2013

I missed RWA 2012 in Anaheim, though I was only 90 minutes away in San Diego, because it was His Hawtness’s Brokeback Summer.  This year, he is super hale, getting up at the crack of dawn three times a week to run before work, and requiring no nursemaiding at all.  So I sashayed over to Atlanta–though my sashaying probably didn’t look all that pretty, when I was dragging my suitcases from the MARTA station to the hotel–and had myself a great time.

The entire mood of the conference was notably buoyant.  I remember RWA 2010, there was a pervasive sense of unease, and sometimes outright fear.   2011 was when we first started hearing about all the self-publishing successes–and the self-pubbing folks who wanted to give a workshop had to do it in the hotel lobby.

Since I missed last year, for me this is definitely the year self-publishing became the star.  The self-pubbing panels were held in the biggest rooms and every one I went to was well-attended. It is an exciting time to be a writer, with more avenues to success and profitability than ever.

But for me, the best part of the conference was RITA night, when my very dear friend Emily McKay won the YA Romance RITA, for her book The Farm.  I felt like the mother of the bride all night long, even though I had nothing to do with her book!

My second favorite part is probably McIrish–Kristan Higgins’s husband–taking to calling me “Trouble.”  Heh heh.  I am in fact a very untroublesome person, downright virtuous if we examine what I do and don’t do.  But sometimes it’s the mindset that comes across, and I am the sort to encourage my friends to take off their pants in public, in the hope of ensuing excitement.  🙂

New Website

It’s beautiful.  It’s functional.  It’s designed and coded by Frauke Spanuth at Croco Designs, whom I can no longer live without.

The Luckiest Lady in London

I have just turned in the galleys, or first pass pages, as they are sometimes called nowadays–and thoroughly enjoyed the read-through.  I even shed a tear, which came as a surprise, since I hadn’t pegged it as that sort of book.  But then again, angst is my stock-in-trade, so who am I kidding?  🙂

The Burning Sky Book Trailer

I like to make book trailers, when I have time.  Not that I ever expected them to sell books, it was more like a vanity thing, to give me a my-child-has-shiny-shoes kind of swagger.  (And which I have never experienced in real life, as neither of my children have ever consented to footwear that can be shined.)

For the first time, someone else has made me a book trailer, one that might actually accomplish the task of book-pushing.  The text is taken from the opening page of the book, so you could say I wrote the script.  But mainly what makes it work, for me, is the music, and the dramatic beauty of Eton.  (Seriously, I Google Earth’ed the heck out of Eton and looked at every image there was, and never realized the school was that pretty.)

The Dark Days Book Tour

I will be going on a quickie book tour, with fellow Harper YA authors Madeleine Roux, Rae Carson, Michelle Gagnon and Mindy McGinnis.

And these are the dates and the stops:

Sept. 25 – Las Vegas, NV
B&N Northwest, Rainbow Promenade

Sept. 26 – Highland Ranch, CO
Tattered Cover Book Store

Sept. 27 – Houston, TX
Blue Willow Bookshop

Sept. 28 – Austin, TX
Austin Teen Book Festival

Very excited about ending the tour in my hometown.   Would love to see you guys, if the tour comes near your usual haunts.


As I end a blog post, I ask myself, is that everything?  And the answer is often, no, it’s not, because I have a couple of new covers I haven’t posted yet.  I am, you see, a very serious cover exhibitor.   🙂  First up, audio Ravishing the Heiress.  This looks more like Isabelle than Millie, but hey, if it sells copies.

Ravishing the Heiress Audio Book Cover

Next up, the overseas cover for The Burning Sky.

And that concludes this edition of mishmash, which is probably the only thing we serve around here.  It keeps you cool in summer, and warm in winter, and makes children grow tall and beautiful. 🙂