Skeleton Key Book Series
One Skeleton Key. Endless Adventures.
One magical key.
The turn of a lock.
An adventure of a lifetime.
The Skeleton Key finds those who are brave enough. Curious enough. Crazy enough. It only needs an unsuspecting hand and inconspicuous door. Magic uncoils and where the door leads, no one knows. The one way to discover the truth is to step through into a world of the exotic and untold.
If you dare to dream the impossible…
Unlock the Skeleton Key adventures.
GAME MASTER by Scarlett Dawn
“Forbidden love will change the rules.”
WARRIOR QUEEN by Shona Husk
“To break the siege, he’ll break a law.“
SHADOW WINGS by JC Andrijeski
“In a time of great darkness, can Ilana help an angel regain his wings?“
ROYAL ENCHANTMENT by Lia Davis
“A skeleton key unlocks a passage to a world of fae, mythical creatures, and a dark elfin King who will do anything to claim his bride.”
MECHANICAL HEARTS by Nicole Blanchard
“Life and love are on the line and time is running out. Tick tock.”
ELFHAME by Anthea Sharp
“A prince, a prophecy, and the young woman who holds the fate of a world in her hands.”
PRINCESS OF THE DAMNED by Wendy Knight
“What do you do when the face in the mirror isn’t yours?”
EUNICA by J. Rose Alexander
“Her destiny was not in the shadow of death, but in the light of another life.”
WHERE SLEEPING DRAGONS LIE by Cristina Rayne
“Some doors can only be unlocked by the right hand…”
CURSE OF THE UNDEAD DRAGON KING by Konstanz Silverbow
“A curse so powerful, not even true love’s kiss can break it.“
FATE OF ELEMENTS by M. Stratton
“She was the key to uniting their world.”
THE ASSASSIN’S MARK by Sarah Mäkelä and Tavin Soren
“An assassin becomes a protector as he enters a magical world…all for the woman of his dreams.“
SPELL SLINGER by K.N. Lee
“An immortal dictator will soon meet his match, in a time-traveling sorceress with revenge in her soul.”
DARK FAE by Lillian Cartier
“The most breathtaking love she’s ever found may also bring her ultimate ruin and death.”
HIS IMMORTAL KISS by Liliana Rhodes
“He’s waited centuries for her.”
WITCHMATE by Renee George
“When thief Emma Watson stumbles into an alternative world full of warring witches and werewolves, it sets her on a dangerous path that may lose her the only man she’s ever wanted to love.”
INTO ELURIEN by Kate Sparkes
“Sometimes you need to step into a fairy tale to find something real.”
MATE OF A DRAGON VILLAIN by Mandy Rosko
“She wasn’t supposed to fall for the bad guy…”
MAGICAL ACTS by Michele Bardsley
“Otherworldly to-do list: 1. Save mage. 2. Fall in love. 3. Avoid certain death.”
THE DEATH SEER by Tanis Kaige
“Caught between life and death, her salvation can only be found in the boy who went missing twenty years ago.”
THIEF OF SANGUARDIA by Cherie Marks
“One twist of the key will lead to her destiny.“
LOVE IN FANTASY by Elle Christensen
“Twelve nights, twelve fantasies, twelve stories of true love. Or…is it only eleven?”
ARMY OF THE WINTER COURT by Ali Winters
“The heart and blood of life will give rise to the final army.”
ETERNAL NIGHT by Marian Tee
“Will you come away with the Prince of Darkness if he asks you to?”
UNLOCKING ADELINE by J.D. Hollyfield
“She dreams of her happily ever after. He plans to destroy it.”
THE HAUNTED SULTAN by Gillian Zane
“One night in New Orleans, a ghost tour, a handsome stranger, and the spirit of a Sultan long dead.”
Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to announce that my latest book is now available. This one takes you back into the world of faeries, elves, and the Seelie Court. It’s a companion book to Captivated, but they do standalone.
In celebration of the release, Total-e-Bound is offering the chance to win 5 eBooks if you purchase one of the books in the Titania’s Court collection! Just click on the banner above to get started.
Genre: Fantasy & Fairytales/ Paranormal
Page Count: 47
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Release Date: 7/12
A mercenary who skirts light and dark must protect a reclusive Seelie noblewoman, but when they discover a common link, they must surrender…
Niamh McNamara has always been a little different from the rest of the Seelie Court. Their natural mirth and playfulness is something she has to force, so she won’t stand out much during the midsummer’s festivities. That becomes nearly impossible when an attempt is made on her life by a violent masked fae. Content with seclusion, she’s unhappy when the queen requests her back at court to meet her new bodyguard.
Doyle Kearney is mercenary who skirts the light and dark courts. Some think he’s Unseelie, while others are sure he’s Seelie. When Queen Titania brings him to protect a sullen noble, he almost refuses—he’s a warrior, not a bodyguard—until he sees Niamh. His body reacts to the golden goddess, but he can’t forget how his noble parents had easily tossed him aside to protect their titles. He questions if she’ll do the same if he surrenders his heart.
Summer’s warm magic glittered in the night air. Nature drank deep of it and flourished with life and growth. The delightful party playing out around Niamh McNamara didn’t interest her one bit. As a member of the light court, she should’ve enjoyed the merry festivities that Midsummer’s Eve brought on, but her sour mood wouldn’t let go of her. Then again, she’d never been like the rest of her people.
Darkness constantly ached within her chest beneath her golden appearance. Before she’d been able to ignore it, but now it wasn’t so easy, especially after overhearing whispers about her from the other members of court. Hiding away had helped, but she couldn’t always stay hidden.
Queen Titania had requested her presence back at court for a while, and when the queen asked, one didn’t say no. The queen held a special interest in seeing Niamh, as a female noble, commit to a worthy relationship. At Niamh’s age, she should’ve at least had one potential suitor, yet she did her best to avoid them and had been fairly successful.
Niamh took another sip from her goblet. The faeries around her sang, laughed and danced, yet she could barely gather the enthusiasm to smile. How cruel life was that she had to watch their happiness while she didn’t share their feelings.
There were men who seemed determined to court her. The more she dissuaded them, the more eagerly they flocked to her. A familiar male elf took her elbow to sweep her off to dance, but she brushed off his hand. “Sorry, I’m not interested in dancing at the moment.”
Another reason why she preferred to stay away from court these days. She hated presumptuousness and what tended to happen next.
His face fell, and confusion creased his brow. The lady next to Niamh gawked at her like she was crazy before grabbing the male’s hand and waltzing away with him. The lady leaned close to him and whispered something, causing them to both break out into laughter.
Niamh bristled. She didn’t want to feel like an outsider amongst her own people.
A happy, albeit drunken, pixie flew by her, nearly colliding with her shoulder. The tiny being apologised in a high-pitched tinkling voice, then it was gone, darting away to join a group of pixies near the mead.
Most of the pixies there had already drunk their share. Their amorous personalities, combined with the summer’s fertility magic, heated the group until their moans of pleasure chimed through the warm breeze. Others nearby reacted to the intimacy, their clothes slipping off in their fervour.
Yet another sign of how nature’s power innately affected the Seelie.
The group she stood with were still chatting merrily amongst themselves, though their attention was beginning to drift to the playful fledgling orgy.
Niamh slipped away into the forest, making sure no one saw her. She needed a break from the laughter and shallow niceties. Her face ached from the plastic smile she wore for the party. Once safely out of view, she leaned against a tree and let out a ragged breath. Her fake smile fell, and she stared into the sky between the leaves. If only she were home, away from the misery of joy she had to force. Warmth and happiness permeated the air around her, but a part buried within her retracted from those emotions, shying away from the silky caress. Most of the time, she wondered if she had something wrong with her. Darkness held solace for her while light made her aware of what she lacked.
The snap of a branch startled her, and she peeked around the tree. No one was there. Thoughts about her inner darkness dissipated. Her shoulders tensed, and she strained her ears to hear more signs of movement. Another twig snapped behind her, and she nearly jumped out of her skin.
Before her stood a man in an elaborately decorated mask, which covered most of his face. A dark hood and cape cloaked the rest of him, making it impossible to distinguish any of his features. He was most definitely fae like her—he had that kind of aura. He must’ve hidden his wings beneath his grand cape.
She looked him over with a frown. Why was he here, away from the party? Especially dressed as he was? I left the party behind to rest, not to give someone the opportunity to make my acquaintance in private. She sighed but forced herself to smile.
A scream caught her attention from the party, turning her towards the sound, but the laughter that followed reassured her that everything was still safe.
The foreboding man spun her to face him. He clasped his hands around her throat, and slammed her folded wings back against the tree. Her head bounced against the hard oak. She clawed at his glove-covered hands, trying to get him off her, trying to draw air into her lungs.
He smashed her against the tree again, but his grip slipped slightly.
“What do you want?” she squeaked, gulping in air.
“You. That’s what I wanted.”
She’d never heard this man’s voice before. How could he want her while she couldn’t figure out who he was? He must’ve used glamour so she wouldn’t recognise him.
Genre: Fantasy & Fairytales/ Paranormal
Page Count: 60
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Release Date: 12/17
When a mercenary, whose purpose is to dispose of wicked Unseelie fae, meets a dark elf, she’ll question her mission and become captivated…
After her family was killed by a dark elf, mercenary Honora Butler’s purpose is the disposal of wicked faeries, elves, and other Unseelie beings, but she’ll find herself questioning her mission when she meets Brennan, a dark elf who doesn’t conform to what she believed his kind were like.
Brennan O’Niall doesn’t know what it is about Honora that makes him crave her, but he wants to find out. However, when she’s charged with the murder of a friend, he’ll have to discover the truth and decide just how much she means to him.
Gritting her teeth, Honora Butler sneaked farther into the dark, snowy forest. Danger lurked within the shadows, and she would kill or be killed. Death didn’t intimidate her anymore. She knew it too well.
Everyone she’d loved had been taken from her.
Snow crunched beneath the soles of her knee-high leather boots. When she was young, the Mercenary Guild had taken her in. They’d seen her abilities and her determination. They’d trained her, given her a chance when she’d wanted only to die, and now she did what she bloody well could to make sure the dark beings of the Unseelie Court hurt no one else.
A horrified scream erupted ahead, beckoning her deeper into the forest. It had to have been caused by her prey. Picking up her pace, she pulled a throwing knife from its sheath. Her magic surged into the blade, filling it with power and making the metal white—hot.
The trees broke into a clearing. The cause of the cries stood in the dirt road. A woman cowered on the ground while a short, stocky man dressed in blood red with a matching hat sneered at her. He looked to be having far too good a time.
“I have a husband and kids. Please, don’t hurt me,” the woman whimpered. “My master…he’ll—”
The Fear Dearg snorted and crossed his arms in front of him. He stared down his crooked nose at the terrified woman as if pondering what to do first.
Honora doubted the woman was in immediate danger. The Red Man mostly engaged in cruel pranks on those he sought, but that wouldn’t stop her from killing him. Her mission in life was to rid the world of malevolence.
She slid from the trees, taking one quiet step after another. “Na dean maggadh fum,” she said. Those words, ‘do not mock me’, were the best chance she had to take him down without a problem.
The Fear Dearg jerked his gaze to Honora. His lips curled back into a snarl at the interruption. “So be it. Now go on. Get out of here. Can’t you see I’m busy?” He stared at her blankly, waiting. “What? You want my favour and prosperity? Wait for your turn.”
Just like that, he returned his focus to the woman. He grabbed at her dress.
With a snap of her wrist, Honora sent the throwing knife sailing through the air. A wash of blood arced in a thick spray as the Fear Dearg collapsed, the knife lodged in his head.
Shrieking, the woman scurried backwards from the corpse. Her eyes were wide and horrified at the sight of the dead faerie. “What have you done?” she asked, glancing Honora’s way. Shaking her head, she picked up her large basket with foodstuffs that lay on its side. Most of the food had fallen out, but the woman didn’t bother gathering it. She took the basket, then ran off down the dirt road.
What had that been about?
Honora watched the woman until she disappeared around the curve of the path. She walked over to the dead Red Man then tugged her blade out of his skull. It came away easily, blood dripping off it in great crimson drops. She wiped it clean on his jacket before tucking the knife back in its sheath.
Her stomach rumbled. On the ground was an unsoiled loaf of bread from the woman’s fallen food. She stripped off her bloody gloves and crouched. She brushed off a few leaves then tore a piece from it and lifted it to her lips.
In the distance, she heard a faint noise like that of a large flock of birds beating their wings. That couldn’t be right. Birds weren’t typically active at night there. Yet the sound grew louder.
The sudden realisation of what it was punched her in the gut. She dropped the bread and raced after the woman. Honora needed to find the safety of shelter. She couldn’t be out here when the Sluagh—restless spirits of the dead—flew over. What they did was worse than death. They captured their victims’ souls.
Behind her, the cries became impossibly louder. She didn’t have much time at all. She had yet to spot any homes or places to hide and knew if she were spotted she would be connected with the murder of the Fear Dearg, and hunted. She wouldn’t be safe unless she found somewhere soon.
Chancing a look over her shoulder, she saw a horrible black mass darken the sky. Screams of their victims filled her ears then. They were close. She caught sight of an elegant manor off to the left.
Are you ready for the holidays? There’s only 11 days until Christmas! Eeek!
I am, so I’m participating in the Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas Blog Hop to help spread some holiday cheer! It’ll run from today until December 17th at 11:59 PM. I hope everyone is able to snag some great prizes from the fantastic list of bloggers participating this weekend!
I’m offering up a $10 Amazon gift card as well as an ebook from me. What goodies do I have lurking in there you ask? Good question!
Blurb for Her Christmas Elf (my newest release):
Lost in a forest, Vera finds an elf who gives her a Christmas to remember.
Traveling alone in Finland around Christmas isn’t exactly what Vera Hayes had imagined she’d be doing. When her longtime boyfriend dumps her before the trip at the last minute, she decides to go anyways. However, she gets lost in a forest in Lapland and starts to panic until she runs into a magical man who looks suspiciously like an elf without the pointy ears. Pekka, one of Santa’s elves, soothes away her worry and helps her find her way back to her cabin, giving her a Christmas Eve to remember.
And the blurb for my book coming out December 17th, Captivated:
When a mercenary whose purpose is to dispose of wicked Unseelie fae meets a Dark Elf, she’ll question her mission and become captivated…
After her family was killed by a dark elf, mercenary Honora Butler’s purpose is the disposal of wicked faeries, elves, and Unseelie beings, but she’ll find herself questioning her mission when she meets Brennan, a dark elf who doesn’t conform to what she believed his kind were like.
Brennan O’Niall doesn’t know what it is about Honora that makes him crave her, but he wants to find out. However, when she’s charged with the murder of a friend, he’ll have to find out the truth and decide just how much she means to him.
Visit the other Purrrfectly Giftastic Christmas Blog Hop sites here.
Hey everyone! Today on the Naughty List Blog Hop, I have Sean Michael with me, author of “Christmas Elves are Ringing” from the Santa’s Helpers series at Changeling Press. Visit the previous stop here.
When the call came from Changeling for Santa’s Helpers stories, I couldn’t resist doing a story about the elves who live up north with the big guy, making toys and what not. Who else is more of a Santa’s Helper than them?
Along came Joey, the very best doll maker elf in the entire world.
Only, like with many great artists, he can be a temperamental diva when he wants to be. Lucky for Joey (hell, and for Santa and the rest of the North Pole residents) Bane knows exactly what to do to ring Joey’s bells and get him back in the gift creating mood. Given the premise and the characters, this wound up being a fun and kinky romp that I had a great time writing. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much.
Oh, the title? How could I resist the play on Christmas Bells Are Ringing? I couldn’t. Especially when the elves in question wear jingle bells that most definitely do get rung!
Christmas Elves are Ringing Blurb:
Joey’s the best doll maker at Santa’s workshop, but he’s fed up with making them and all their accessories. In fact, he’s having a tantrum of epic proportions. The big guy sends Joey’s lover Bane in to give Joey an attitude adjustment. Can Bane work his magic in time for them to make sure Santa’s sleigh is full this year?
Thanks to Sarah for hosting me on the Naughty List Blog Hop today!
EDIT: I didn’t receive Irina’s guest post until noon today (Wednesday), but here it is.
When we read historical chronicles that are full of battles, campaigns and conquests with constant sword-rattling, we automatically start to imagine people who lived in the past as a sort of restless giants seemingly forged from metal. Partial enlightment comes when we find the laconic anthropological data: only five hundred years ago average height of a man was no more than 150 –160 centimeters (4’ 9” – 5’2”). That means such a “giant” barely reaches my ear in height. Their physique was even stranger. I remember very well when I stared at the ancient knight’s armor at a museum for the first time. In the best case, this armor could find room only for a modern twelve-year boy. However, there is a nuance – this boy in no case would rise to his feet under the weight of this glittering “piece of metal”
It turns out that our ancestors were very “compact” and capable of great endurance. But we want a completely different picture! Therefore, we can see Alexander the Great, Achilles that looks like Brad Pitt and all 300 Spartans in Cinemas. All this also concerns heroic fantasy that is crowded with brutal characters. No one but real machos should wander over various worlds while defending beauties and all the others they come across, because it is a superhero’s mission!
The White Raven series is no exception to this tradition. There are strong characters there, and they are all different. Unruly, elemental force of the main character (Vraigo) coexists with calm strength of the Grand Duke Vlady on whom the lives of many people depend. Soft courage of the young magus Evstarh faces the resolve and inflexibility of the Duke’s son Tagas. Even Nik, our contemporary friend who finds himself in the epicenter of the ancient battle, shows a fighting spirit.
So, existence really does strengthen character. And we have to admit that our ancestors, no matter how they looked and behaved, carried a supply of power that still attracts us. This power refracts in our subconscious mind, giving us the ability to walk through hardships now and again, in spite of all the modern comforts we have today.
White Raven: Sword of Northern Ancestors
By Irina Lopatina
The fate of Areya rests with the lost sword Urart. Will White Raven retrieve it before it’s too late?
In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya’s native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.
With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady’s nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there’s any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.
As if this weren’t bad enough, Urart disappears from the duke’s stronghold. Without it, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly get the sword back. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.
About the Author:
Irina Lopatina lives and works in Siberia, Russia, but her homeland has an even more wonderful and exotic name: Altai. It is a unique place where old Altai Mountains rise high up to the sky, centuries-old forests stretch out as in ages past, and mighty Siberian rivers flow along the plains. Altai is one of the few places in the world where huge, densely populated cities coexist with pristine wild places. Moreover, this is an area of the earliest human civilizations, through which the great migration of people from eastern lands to Europe once took place.
While studying at the Altai State University, Irina devoted much attention to the past of her native land. As a student, she went to the archaeological sites of ancient settlements located on the mountain plateau, where it was only possible to arrive on foot. She remembers moments when it was quite easy to imagine how the ancient people had lived, what creatures neighbored them, and what adventures took place in these vast spaces. Irina needed take only a small leap from there to White Raven, his friends, and his enemies who were ready to begin a journey through the Eternal Forest of Areya.
Of course, it would have been much more difficult for her to create her stories if Irina had not been inspired early on by the works of many excellent fantasy and science fiction writers such as J.R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin, the Russian authors Nick Perumov and Svyatoslav Loginov, as well as the wonderfully charming Russian fairy tales where a brave prince, his faithful grey wolf and the evil koschei always live. And so it happens that Irina’s novels are the stories of a distant, semi-fantastic land which, who knows, may still exist next door to us.
About the Illustrator:
Even as a child, Igor Adasikov knew that he would be an artist.
While studying at an art school, he devoted much of his time practicing classical drawing, seeking to depict the world around him as fully as possible. His works often won awards in Russian art contests, and he continued his education at Moscow Art Institute. After graduating from the Institute, Igor worked as an artist preferring realistic painting, such as portrait and landscape. However, his rich imagination still needed an outlet and manifested itself in full while illustrating the fantasy novel, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors.
Here, in the surprising fairy-tale world, void of any boundaries, the artist found the nourishment to feed his creativity. Having traveled with the heroes through the whirlwind of adventures, he worked to give readers a visible image of Areya, bringing to life the magical creatures that inhabit the land, and making friends with the heroes of this fascinating story.
Praise for White Raven:
“Areya always needed a blade to protect it, but only a few can truly wield it. White Raven is a fantasy novel surrounding the Kingdom of Areya, enjoying its own harmony. Vraigo, known as the White Raven, knows it is up to him to recover Urart, the sword that blessed Areya with protection for quite some time. As time grows short, Vraigo realizes it all falls to him. White Raven is an excellent pick for lovers of fantasy and adventure, much recommended.” ~ The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch: June 2012
You can learn more about Irina’s White Raven project and sign up for the chance to win a free copy at whiteraven.lightmessages.com
Irina and White Raven are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whiteravenbook
Aiming for Impossible Dreams
by Kinley Baker
I’ll never forget when my mother read Denied for the first time. She’s a wonderful beta reader because she reads 3-4 romance novels a week, and she’s been to several conferences in her own pursuit to write a novel. It’s great to get her feedback, but this time when she came back with comments on Denied, I had to laugh.
She said, “I can totally relate to your heroine.”
And I responded, “You want to be the first female guard in your kingdom, too?” *Said with the sarcasm you should never use on your mother. Shame on me. My defense is we have a sarcastic family.*
My mom laughed, but then she said it wasn’t just about Tabitha wanting to be a Warrior. What my mother related to most was being told she couldn’t do something and pressing on anyway. I think a lot of us can relate to being told NO. You can’t do this, or you can’t do that. But the brilliant thing about our own personal journeys is that the road is our own. We don’t have to listen to the naysayers, even when we’re close to caving in and believing them.
Tabitha certainly doesn’t listen to the naysayers, but she struggles on a lot of levels to accomplish her goal. Everyone says that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or some variation. What they fail to mention is the part that almost kills us really sucks. It’s so hard to keep running forward at your fastest speed, and then realize you’re still standing in place. I may or may not be feeling like that even at this very moment while writing this guest post. We all need encouragement! Keep fighting on! With a sword, like Tabitha. Or you know, metaphorically like most of us.
And if you ever need a break, you can always read about someone else reaching for the impossible. The characters in the novel might give you the inspiration you need to reach for your dreams.
What is an accomplishment you’re proud of, that people told you you’d never achieve?
SHADOWED LOVE, BOOK TWO
When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.
Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.
When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most–including each other.
Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13646204-denied
Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance novel, Ruined. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.
Elves are People, Too—A Love Story
by Mysti Parker
In 2001, a little movie called “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” hit the big screen. During that three hour stretch in a dim theater, I munched happily on popcorn and fell in love all over again.
I’d fallen for its predecessor, “The Hobbit”, many years before, when I wore out the little 45 record that came with an abridged children’s version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale. I adored Bilbo. My heart sped as I listened to the gravelly-voiced narrator describing the terrified hobbit’s trek into the dragon Smaug’s lair. No matter how many times I listened and read along, the story captivated me, even when the record skipped at every other paragraph.
And back at the theater in 2001, when Orlando Bloom tossed that long blond hair (ok, I know it was a wig) behind his shoulder, raised his bow, and drew the string back toward his pointed ear, I fell in love with Legolas.
Actually, I fell in love with elves.
Through a trilogy of films, Tolkien’s immortal characters were resurrected by director Peter Jackson’s genius. One might imagine my giddiness over the first installment of “The Hobbit” coming out this December. Yet, as I read the books and drooled over Legolas in the films, I knew something was missing.
I didn’t know what that something was until 2009. In that eight-year span, I quit my job to become a full-time mom, moved to rural Western Kentucky, had two more babies, and became hooked on roleplaying games like Everquest and The Elder Scrolls. In those games, I came to realize what I’d missed in Tolkien’s version of fantasy—the elves!
Yes, there were elves, but I wanted more of Galadriel, Arwen, and Legolas. I wanted more than their portrayal as perfect, whimsical beings. I wanted to get behind the scenes to see what secrets lay in their tidy closets.
And that’s when I started writing. It began with me writing about the elven characters I played in computer games. One of the stories about a dark elf sparked something special. I decided to break away from the fan-fiction slant and create my own fantasy world. After much rewriting and editing, I submitted “Let There Be Love” to Midnight Showcase Fiction (now Melange Books), and they accepted it right off the bat.
From then on, I had my motivation. Freedom, in the form of my very own creation, not confined to someone else’s vision or a game’s pre-set lore. In my world, which came to be called Tallenmere, I held the reins. I could dive headlong into stories where elves were at the forefront, and not just charming minor characters. They would experience passion, anger, jealousy, violence, and treachery just as any human would, with some necessary differences, of course, to give them a unique spin.
So that’s where I am today, carving out the world of Tallenmere one elf at a time. I hope you’ll come along with me on this journey. But beware—you just might fall in love, too!
One lucky commenter will win a PDF or Kindle of BOTH A Ranger’s Tale and Serenya’s Song
Tallenmere, Book Two
by Mysti Parker
In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, no one ever said love was easy…
Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured small-town gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.
Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.
When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property at the edge of town, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die.
Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of.
Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. She is also the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.