Posts tagged “novel

What Do We Know…

That is today’s question…well, more precisely, the question is “What do we know about Kresley Cole‘s upcoming Immortals After Dark novel, Sweet Ruin?”

I know what I know…which is ZIP…



No, really, I clearly have not been keeping up with the forums so when I saw the cover and title earlier today, I was baffled.

So I should probably rephrase the question and instead of asking “what do we know,” I should probably be asking “what do you know?”

Because what you know is what I want to know…

Get it…

Got it…


So please, please, please share!

Rika Ashton

(aka The Informationless Blogger)


Connecting the DOTS

As most of you might already know DOTS (aka Dagger of the Sun) is undergoing some changes. The more time I spend in my fictionalized version of Ancient Greece, the more the world expands – in particular, the Underworld. The Underworld in DOTS is actually a world within a world, and in my version it existed long before Hades claimed it for the dead. And unlike the surface world of mortal Greece, which with the exception of supernatural elements, is mostly true to history – the Underworld is almost 99% a fictionalized landscape. I’m having loads of fun naming places and coming up with groups of people who inhabit the different landscapes of the Underworld.

Best of all, I actually get to stretch my creative muscles a bit and create a map of the Underworld. I actually get to draw! (Or at least I like to call all the chicken scratch I’m throwing on paper “drawing.”)

Of course, not all of the terrain with be revealed in the first book, so I don’t get to draw a complete map…otherwise that would be some major spoilage for book two, but what I do get to include is very detailed.

But I have to say: PLEASE, DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH from this map – I am NOT an artist and therefore, it’s going to be a very amateurish attempt at drawing a map.

However, despite the fact that it will be a very embarrassing attempt, I will still swallow my pride and share on the blog.

And for those of you still not deterred and unafraid of having your eyes bleed, I do have a very bad rough draft.

To make up for my bad mapping skills, I’ll share a teaser from DOTS. This is a scene that happens way later in the novel, and features Bae and Kael. The gentlemen are discussing Bae’s rigorous training schedule for Delphyne.

Ben Hill, my inspiration for Bae.

“Do you think I’m being too hard on her?” Bae asked.

Kael thought about the still-healing cut that he had seen running down the length of Delphyne’s right arm. The fabric of the bandage she’d hastily wrapped around the wound had been soaked through. He had been ready to drive his fist though Bae’s face last night, but had been halted by the words Delphyne had whispered to him in the flickering candlelight of their bedchamber.

“I’m still alive, aren’t I?” She had shrugged, not without flinching. “And as incredible as this may seem at the moment, I do plan to stay that way.”

“I think it’s good for her,” Bae continued, dunking his hands into a basin full of water. He splashed a handful of the water on his face, using the clear liquid to rub away the dirt and sweat of the day’s training session. “But I figured if you’re itching to slit my throat, you might as well get it over with so we can both move on.”

A river of fire. That’s how Delphyne’s wound had looked the night before. A vermilion streak over sun-kissed skin. This morning it had been the finest white line. It was healing. Fast.

So much faster than before.

“No,” said Kael. “I don’t want to slit your throat for hurting my wife.”

Bae looked at him in surprise. 

“I want you to keep training her…until she’s strong enough to slit your throat on her own.”

And there you have it! I had to cut out some parts from the scene – because some things that Kael says are spoilers – but I felt relatively safe uploading this.

Hopefully you enjoyed the little snippet, and now I have to get back to writing! 😀

Rika Ashton

(aka The Mapmaker)

A SHIELD OF WINTER Rant, with Some (Maybe) Spoilers

I was procrastinating – er, writing – when I learning some interesting facts about the upcoming Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh. If you don’t know what Shield of Winter is, I have one question for you, “In exactly which unmapped mountain range is your cave located?” 😛

Just kidding.

But it really is hard for me to imagine that someone, somewhere in the world is not as excited about this book as I am.

In all seriousness, here is the Shield of Winter cover and blurb from Amazon:

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

How unbelievably awesome is this cover?! And, yes, my cover lust is partially attributed to the maximum hotness of the male model as suggested by his jawline. (I’m a connoisseur – what can I say?)

Although, the Heart of Obsidian cover is still the most badass in the whole series.

And now for the interesting facts (might be spoilers) about the book:

1. Both the Snow Dancer and the Dark River packs will feature heavily in  the book, as will Vasic’s fellow Arrow, Aden. (Okay, so not really a spoiler, but still good to know that Snow Dancer and Dark River will make appearances in the book.)

2. Judd gets some MAJOR scene time in this novel.

3. We won’t really learn about Walker’s and Aden’s true Psy abilities in this book, but they will be revealed in Aden’s book which is next! (And Alice is not the heroine – in fact, Alice is not going to be a main character any time soon.)

4. We  find out what caused the tension between Ben and Marlee. 

5. This story is set mainly in the United States.

6. We catch up with the Venetian Arrows and the Human Alliance in SoW, and we learn that the Venetian Arrows took covert action against the Pure Psy.

7. Nikita Duncan has no E-Psy abilities, but we will learn a lot more about this designation. (But still, I’m thinking Nikita’s not entirely Silent.)

8.  Lastly, NO MAJOR CHARACTERS WILL DIE! (Yeah, I’m super relieved and I’m totally hoping this includes Nikita, who is awesome.)

I am crazy excited for this new book! Ever since we were introduced to Vasic and learned how he planned to kill himself, I knew he would need someone with Sasha’s E-Psy abilities and, in hindsight, all the references to the other E-Psy in the Net seemed like a pretty big hint – can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner.

Also, here are some facts about Vasic that Nalini Singh posted in her article, “Oh Those Arrows,” on Dear Author. (For those of you who need to catch up with who he is.)

Vasic first appears in Hostage to Pleasure when he teleports to Ashaya Aliene, a scientist working on the Implant Protocol.  He tells her he is “not a team player.”  (Hostage to Pleasure) Later Vasic appears to be in cahoots with Zie Zen, a dissident.  Vasic is known as the “single true teleporter” or a “Traveler”.   A Traveler. Designation Tk. Subdesignation V.  (Hostage to Pleasure) He has piercing silver eyes and enjoys looking out over the desert wasteland that is rich rust red under sunlight and silver in the glow of the moonlight.

His leg was broken several times when he was six years old to train him in Silence.  He was begging to go home. (Tangle of Need)

It is because of his abilities that Ming LeBon, the first leader of the current Arrow Squad, was able to survive so man attempts to end his life. In “Branded by Fire” Vasic blinks everyone out of a vehicle before it could be hit by the high-explosive antitank rounds directed at it. He also rescues Ming from a crumpled car and another assassination attempt in “Blaze of Memory.”

Vasic’s touch is so delicate he can right an unbalanced insect (Kiss of Snow) or lift the blood from the walls of a room. (Hostage to Pleasure, Tangle of Need) Along with Aden, he could lead the Arrows but refuses.  He is tormented by what Judd deems to be a guilty conscience.  (Tangle of Need).  Vasic and Aden share a telephathic connection.

At one point, Ming LeBon wants Vasic to open for a scan but Vasic refuses on the grounds that it would leave him defenseless and no Arrow is ever defenseless.  Aden fears that Vasic will be totally lost after the Arrow schools are liberated, as if that single focus is the only thing keeping Vasic sane at this moment.

And that concludes my rant on Shield of Winter. I’m hoping June comes soon or I might just die from hyperventilation whenever I hear something about this novel. 😉

So what are some of your predictions? Or do you have some spoilers to dish out? Care to share? I’d love to know.

Rika Ashton

(aka The Procrastinating Reporter)

P.S: The next Psy/Changeling novella (late 2014) is going to feature Mercy’s brother, Bastien!!!!!! And the Smith family.

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh: A Book Review

WARNING: This book review contains MAJOR spoilers, so if you want to read Heart of Obsidian spoiler-free, turn back NOW!

First of all, I have to thank Wicked Scribes, for being awesome and hosting a Heart of Obsidian giveaway that I actually won. Thanks Kaleigha, you are wickedly awesome! 🙂

Heart of Obsidian  (Psy-Changeling, #12)

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

My book arrived June 6 and I spent the entire day and half the next day reading – nay, devouring – the novel. The novel really lived up to its hype. Nalini Singh’s world building was as perfect as always – I could really imagine myself living in the Psy/Changeling universe, even as the devastation of the events in the novel wracked the world to pieces. This was not a tame novel by any means – some of the descriptions of dead bodies were horrific and the story was really as dark as the blurb implied.

Okay, so here come the spoilers…

If you’ve read Nalini Singh’s blog lately and the posted excerpts from Heart of Obsidian, you probably know that the anti-hero is Kaleb Krychek and many of us had guessed that the heroine is Sahara, Faith’s missing cousin. However, what we didn’t know – and could only speculate on –  was the history between the two characters. We know from the ending of Tangle of Need, that Kaleb had been looking for Sahara for seven years.

I’ve wanted to know what happened to Sahara ever since she was mentioned in Faith’s novel, Visions of Heat – I know, of course, that Nalini Singh would not have dropped her name without actually planning out a story for her. Plus, we knew there was more to Kaleb – he isn’t a usual Psy. He smiles – which he claims is an act, and he rescued Annie from the bullet train accident, in “Stoke of Enticement” (most recently in the Wild Invitation anthology).

Plus, there was the added fact that Kaleb was Enrique’s apprentice/protege. (Enrique, if you remember, is the kind of guy you’d want to shoot.)

I had wondered if Keleb (given his past) would be a hero, anti-hero or a very good villain. (Personally, I was leaning towards villain.)

Personally, I’m still not sure if he falls under the anti-hero or villain category – after reading the novel, I think he’s still a villain to some, but a hero to Sahara. (Which is awesome in its own way – I hate it when a perfectly badass character becomes good.)

Kaleb and Sahara’s history is likewise complicated due to the fact that she’s locked away her memories and he’s unsure of how to approach the topic. Kaleb feels guilty for his involvement in what happened to Sahara and she’s been traumatized by her experience, blocking out her memories of the day she was kidnapped.

When I got to the part in the novel where Sahara and Kaleb’s shared past is revealed, I thought it was the most romantic and heartbreaking thing I had ever read. (I also concluded that Kaleb’s never been Silent in the normal way of the Psy – or Sahara for that matter.)

Kaleb shook his head at the unexpected question. He’d lain bloodied and broken in from of Santano and his pet medics, but not one had ever looked at him like Sahara was doing – as if he was a person and not a thing.

But what I was really happy about was the chance to catch up with Faith and Vaughn – it’s been a while since their novel and they rarely make cameos in the other Psy/Changeling books. And I was pleasantly surprised when so many of the Changelings made cameos in the novel – most reviewers had mentioned that we don’t get to see much of the Changelings, but I’m glad I still had the chance to catch up, even if they came later in the novel. It’s true we don’t get to see Changelings interacting in their packs, which is always interesting, but it was nice to see DarkRiver accepting Sahara into their pack and interacting with her.

You’re too good looking for this,” she said to Vaughn. It was happy chance that he’d already been at DarkRiver HQ when she’d requested an escort. “That woman alost missed her skytrain, she was so busy eating you up with her big, brown eyes.” Sahara fluttered her lashes as the hapless brunette had done.

Vaughn shot her an unsmiling look, but she saw the amusement that prowled behind it. “Get to work, Ms. Kyriakus.”

Finally, we find out who the Ghost is – very late into the novel.

So who is it?

Kaleb, of course. (I should have figured this one out after reading the blurb, but the Twitter chat with the Ghost made me have a few doubts. The Ghost/Kaleb is really good at manipulation tactics.)

If there was one thing that I didn’t like about this novel, is that it had an ending. Honestly – and I’m not really trying not to gush here – this book was so good. A lot of times hyped up books don’t live up to reader expectations, but this one did! So go out and find a copy!

Conclusion: Kaleb is now a part of my alpha male book harem! 😉

I can’t wait for the next Psy/Changeling novel, which I’m really hoping will be about the WindHaven alpha because he’s been mentioned a few times and Kaleb made a particular note about him in this novel (and I think he’s harem-worthy, but I won’t know for sure till I read his novel) – but next novel/novella might end up being about Father Xavier.

But speaking of Nalini Singh novels, how many of us are looking forward to catching up with Elena and Raphael in Archangel’s Legion (October 2013)? And what are your thoughts on Heart of Obsidian? Did it live up to the hype in your opinion? Which character’s story – from the Psy/Changeling universe – should be told next?

Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter, #6)

Rika Ashton

(aka The Book Reviewer)

Disclaimer: All book quotes used in this review are the property of Nalini Singh © 2003 – 2013.

Dagger of the Sun: New Teaser (Delphyne)

It’s Friday!!!

Personally, I’m looking forward to sleeping on Saturday – university forces me to wake up way to early the rest of the week. 😦

To celebrate the awesomeness of Friday and the end of the week – a very BUSY week at that – I thought I would post a teaser from Dagger of the Sun (DOTS). I like posting teasers, because it forces me to edit my writing, which I don’t always want to do. I am a very lazy person, as most of you probably know after reading a previous post, so getting down to editing something takes a lot of effort for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing! But the first draft is always the best for me – it’s when I get to discover the nuances of the story for the first time. The journey is fresh and new and I want to finish just so I know how everything ends. I like the part of the editing process that allows me to rejuggle the story, but I hate the part about grammer/spelling – mostly because I’m awful at these aspects.

But, now, without further ado – THE TEASER!

Taking advantage of her temporarily stunned state, her captor aimed another kick to her sword hand, crushing her fingers until she was forced to drop her sword. Delphyne felt a hand clamp over her mouth and nose, preventing any hope of breathing. 

In less than second, Delphyne knew she would be unconscious and defenseless. Survival instincts kicking in, she aimed her knee high between her captor’s legs – swinging hard enough that it should have brought whoever had manhandled her to their knees in screaming agony.

Only it didn’t.

I always look forward to reader predictions…so go ahead and speculate about what you think is going to happen in the comments!

Rika Ashton

(aka High on Friday!)

Dagger of the Sun Teaser: Bae

It’s that wonderfully time of day when you guys get another Dagger of the Sun teaser. So now without further delay, let me introduce to you Baelock, Kale’s right-hand man and supporting character:

He opened his eyes as his second-in-command, Baelok, came into the room. The man was tall, like any immortal he towered well over the average mortal man, but he was still not as tall as Kale. And though his hair was a jet-black, much like Kale’s own, their eyes were eons apart. Bae’s eyes were a striking green-grey combination, the colour of the sea during a storm – something Kale was certain Bae had never seen, being born and never having left the Underworld in his entire existence thus far. In contrast, Kale’s own eyes were as dark, though most would say darker, than his hair.

Kale could see that Bae had yet to go see his personal attendant, his face sported a light scruff of hair – not unusual for Bae – but his black cloak was dusted with soot and dirt, and underneath it Kale could see that his recently purchased silver armour had not suffered any better, all of which indicated Bae had just arrived from his latest journey to Tartarus.

“I brought along a present Kale,” said Bae in his usual rumbling tone that some women found seductive – that is until they heard Kale speak. “Would you like to guess what it is?”

“If it’s another woman, I will kill you,” muttered Kale.

“I can see you’re in one of your moods.” Kale heard Bae sigh, moving closer to lean his shoulder against the doorway. “Too much time with Hades?”

“Any time spent with Hades is too much.”

“Then you are going to like what I have to show you even more,” Bae’s reply contained more than a hint of mirth.

And that’s a taste of Bae…who is turning out to be a surprise. He a new invention of my imagination – never existed in the original draft – but then a lot of new characters are sprouting up now that I have time to look at what Dagger of the Sun needs to make it a truly complex story. And a great supporting cast is essential!

Rika Ashton

(aka The Tease)

P.S: Also joined Pinterest.

Time for a Teaser: Apollo

Once again, just to prove that I’ve been keeping on top of my editting, I’m going to post a short teaser. The new teaser is Apollo’s description from my novel:

Delphyne had been in the hidden glade not far from her home, practising the sword-fighting manoeuvres her Spartan father had recently taught her, when the god had landed in front of her. He’d looked magnificent with his wings, of not feathers but light and flame, as if he’d forced rays of sunlight to take shape at his back. His wind-tousled hair had transitioned between the shades of pure white and the deepest of gold. A laurel wreath snaked around one wrist, while the other was left bare by his sleeveless white tunic.

But it had been his eyes that had started her, more so than even the soft golden glow, the perfection of his face – with it’s high cheekbones, and smooth skin that lacked her father’s scruffy beard – or his incredible height. The pale blue of the winter sky, they were like chips of ice in a torrent of fire. Those eyes had stared at her with an intensity that scared her.

As you can see, my Apollo is blond which is contradictory to what Pierre Grimal writes in The Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology, where he notes that Apollo was “especially distinguished for his long, curling, black hair” (49). However, as I am the author of this novel, which is a work of fiction and not an biography of Apollo, I decided to take a little – or a lot, depending on how you look at it – creative license. While I like to stick with the facts when it comes to Greece, its environment, foods and clothes, I don’t intend to follow any of the myths too precisely.

Also, I’m fairly certain the original Apollo didn’t have wings, but mine sometimes conjures them when he needs to travel long distances. (He’s too young yet to just appear where he needs to go.) Here’s what I imagine Apollo’s wings to look like:

My current motto is, “I will own this myth!” So that means I’m sticking to a new, original retelling and not just the facts.

Rika Ashton

(aka I’m-still-astonished-that-Apollo-was-a-brunette)

Dagger of the Sun Teaser: Kale

Just letting you guys know that I’ve been diligently working on Dagger of the Sun edits with my critique partner, the fabulous Priscilla Shay – I say fabulous because not only does she have to look at my make-your-eyes-burn bad novel drafts, she also has to provide feedback that will make it better – all while working on her own novels, short stories, poems, etc. Check out her second weblog here!

In celebration of my hard work this past week, I’m celebrating with a Lord Kaelus (Kale) teaser from chapter two of my novel. Kale is my anti-hero, who is really more of a villain and Delphyne’s future husband, because somehow I will give these two a happy ending!

Now on to the (unedited) teaser:

Lord Kaelus, High Councillor of the Underworld and Master of the Night Palace, was seated in the large dining hall, sipping his ambrosia. A clear liquid, created specifically for him, that on most days satisfied his more primitive urges. However, on this particular day, Kale had spent far too much in the “esteemed” company of the God of the Underworld.

He felt like killing someone.

And with that I bid you farewell for the day, since I must get back to more edits or the fabulous Priscilla Shay will eat my head.

-Rika Ashton

(aka The Diligent One)

P.S: Here’s an image of the colour of Kale’s midnight cloak, which he inherited from Nyx, the Goddess of Night.