Romancing the Reader: Spellbound Treasure: Unbreak Me Guest Blog by Lex Valentine

I’d like to welcome the lovely Lex to my blog. She’s no stranger here, having done the artwork for both my header and the cover for Through the Paintings. Today she’s here to treat you to a glimpse of the world in her Spellbound Treasure novella Unbreak Me. Before I turn the blog over to her, I wanted to let you know you can get a ten percent discount this week at Jupiter Gardens Press on your whole purchase if you buy at least one Spellbound Treasure book and use the code word treasure. Also, I’m giving away Unbreak Me to the first five people who register for email updates from my blog after this goes live. Please come back Wednesday for the release of my first novella!

I give you Lex Valentine:

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Unbreak Me isn’t a new book, but the characters still enthrall me. When my editor, Mary Wilson, and I discussed this world back in 2010, I decided my contribution would be a trilogy. Somehow, life got in the way and I’ve never gone back to this world and finished the story of betrayal I began with Unbreak Me. Now that the audiobook is set to begin production soon, I’m hoping it spurs me to write the other two books.

When I was asked to talk about this book I jumped at the chance in part because the audiobook version will be out this year and in part because I love this world. The characters in Unbreak Me are special. The setting is special and the plot is very different from what I usually write. And the book was a 2011 Passionate Plume finalist as well as the second place novella in the 2011 Lories Best Published contest. I knew this novella was special but I wanted everyone else to think so too. And then Happily Ever Reviews gave it 5 teacups saying, “This is not a quick, light read. This is a living thing that sinks its claws into the reader and doesn’t let go.”

Well. It just doesn’t get any better for an author than that.

Unbreak Me isn’t a pretty story. The world itself is filled with a mixture of modern Earth type tech, magic, and sci-fi. The realms of this world include Crossroads of the Realms, the place where Spellbound Treasure has its home. ST is run by an angel, Etienne, and her assistant Robin, a handsome demon. Etienne and Robin sell items imbued with magic. They are the only ones who can handle such items.

The main realm in my story is Estep Realm whose capital is Falconaire City, the seat of government for my world as well as the home base of the Pythian Elite, a fighting force of warriors who have magic and tech. It is also home of the Prime Minister and The Citadel, the Ministry Office Complex.

Within Falconaire City are several districts including The Avenal, an upscale appearing area that is actually dangerous. It’s a place where anyone with money can buy anything they want on the black market. It’s a place where spies seek secrets and where men take their mistresses. There’s also the oldest city in Estep, Hawksmoor, a once proud city that is now a slum filled with criminals.

The places in this novella aren’t pretty. They are gritty, dark and filled with unsavory people. And the beautiful places like Falconaire City are only surface beautiful. Falconaire City’s beauty hides evil people in high places, making it just as ugly and dark as Hawksmoor.

My main characters are a trio of best friends. My heroine, Tait Boland, is the daughter of the General in charge of the Pythian Elite. Her long time lover, Major Marcus ‘Ren’ Renniger and their best friend Captain Branson Gaines, were on a mission which Tait did not go on. Their transport was hijacked and Marcus and Branson were presumed dead. Many things happen to Tait, Marcus and Branson prior to the start of the book, but those things all have bearing on the story.

The story opens with Tait bidding for a heart carved out of heartstone. Someone else bids for it too and wins. Tait comes out of hiding and goes to Crossroads to try to get the winner to sell her the heart. That’s when she discovers her lover is still alive. This sets off a chain of events as Marcus, Tait and Branson seek those who betrayed them six years before.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the story because it might spoil it for you! But Unbreak Me is an emotional roller coaster as Tait and Marcus reunite and try to make sense of what happened to them and why. It has a satisfactory ending, besides the HEA, on one level as we see Tait gain revenge on those who hurt her. However, the bigger picture, the depths of the betrayal against Tait, Marcus, Branson and Tait’s father the General, are only touched on.

The second book is meant to be a continuation of their search for answers and in it the characters are joined by Branson’s twin brother who, on paper, doesn’t exist. That story is meant to be MM. The final book in the trilogy winds up the mystery of who really betrayed them and why and gives Branson his HEA. One day, I will sit down and write the other two books.

This is an incredibly emotional story and, like I said, it’s not pretty. The cover art (all of the ST covers are done by me, mine as well as the other authors) is appropriately dark, but still shows the depth of the love between my hero and heroine. I hope that when the audiobook comes out that readers who loved the book will check it out. I think the narrator’s voice is wonderful and I think she will bring my characters to life.

For any reader who likes their romances with a bit of magic, this multi-author series is a must read. All of the authors have used Crossroads in slightly different ways, but each story contains an object containing magic obtained from Spellbound Treasure. It’s an awesome world and a great series that I’m grateful to be a part of.

Lex Valentine

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Romancing the Reader: The Shared World of Spellbound Treasures by Jasmine Aherne

Welcome to my first Romancing the Reader spot where guest authors come by and chat a spell about creating their stories. Kisses to Jasmine Aherne for sharing her experiences in the Spellbound Treasure’s world with us. She has written several novellas for the series including her new release A Wolf at her Door. Be sure to come back Friday for my first Friday Flirtations, or, better yet, register for email notifications from my blog. The first five people to register for email notifications after this post goes live will receive a free Jasmine Aherne Spellbound novella of their choice!

And now, without further ado, I present the lovely Jasmine Aherne:

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My name is Jasmine and I write for Jupiter Gardens Press. I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to have written several novellas in the shared world of the Spellbound Treasure series, and I have been lucky enough to have the permission to create my own section of that world, the Faewild. The Fae live in the Spellbound Treasure world, but the Faewild is a sectioned off area which was born when some of the Fae developed shifting powers to take the form of animals. Unable to deal with the fear that the shifting Fae might one day attack or try and stage a coup, the Fae of the fairy realm of Caroann banished the shifting Fae to a dark, wild forest they named the Faewild.

The shifting Fae cannot cross into Caroann (well, maybe except if they got someone to help them, through bribes or otherwise!) but with the help of a magical human called the Realmbinder, they can cross into the human world in order to find a mate for bonding, and to explore.

I found writing in a shared world extremely exciting. In a way it was easier for me, as I created the Faewild, so I could start with an almost blank canvas. It was very useful to have Caroann to compare the Faewild to, as well – Caroann is a magical fairytale Kingdom of light, ruled by a King and Queen. The Faewild is much more like a collection of tribes or clans, each with the own lands and tribal leaders.

Shifters are such an interesting group to write about, because they’re so out of this world, especially to humans. How would someone react when confronted with a shifter, especially when seeing them shift. Fear? Anger? Total denial? I think all are possible. The thing about shifting through magic, is that it happens so fast that the process is very hard to take in and consider/observe properly. But at the same time, I was aware that I didn’t want to write something totally unbelievable. If you push your reader too far, they’ll put the book down, say “that’s just too crazy” and walk away. A fantasy world has to be at least believable and I think that’s where your characters come in. If your characters can be related to, then you’re halfway there with making your books believable.

My first book in the Faewild “series” (I say series loosely as none of the characters, except the Realmbinder, are connected) was Birthday Shift with Cade, the cat shifter. Cade is one of my favourite shifters as he was the first one I ever wrote about! I found it fun exploring the human world through his eyes, and telling the story of his love for Molly, his chosen human mate.

To make matters more magical (and fun for me!), the shifting Fae can only enter the human realm in their shifted animal form (after all, magic has its boundaries – I dislike stories where magic can do any damn thing you want, at the drop of a hat). So, in order to get close to Molly as someone she could love, Cade appears to her in a dream, in his biped form, and all sorts of sexy fun times begin!

I won’t ruin the story for you if you want to read it. But the other really exciting part of the ST worlds is that any author wanting to write a book within Caroann, or the Faewild, or any other realm, is that with the creator’s permission, characters can be “borrowed” – as Evelyn is borrowing Cade, who now works with Etienne at ST HQ, for her new release. I was so glad to hear from him and that he’s still enjoying life. I love it when characters get to live on, and I firmly believe that shared characters leads to even more verisimilitude for the ST world as a whole, and thus a better experience for the readers.

If you would like to read more of the Faewild, you can check out Outfoxed, where a shy but sexy professor falls for a female fox shifter, or the latest in the ST novels, A Wolf at Her Door, where a smoking hot wolf shifter rescues an animal sanctuary in danger.

I will leave you with my vision of what the Faewild looks likes – dark and wild, mysterious and deep.

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Image credit: www.alphacoders.com

Please check out Evelyn’s work. I had the pleasure of reading a bit of Through The Paintings and it’s awesome, a great addition to the Spellbound collection.