Update on THE LOST SWALLOW

THE LOST SWALLOW launched on August 14th and the novel has had a good response to far. Reviewers have enjoyed the book too, which is always a bonus!

Here’s what one reviewer had to say about the novel:

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If you’re keen to know more about the story, you can watch me talking about THE LOST SWALLOW prior to its launch.

Work has now begun on Book #3 in the series, PATH OF THE DARK—and I’m really excited to get stuck into it. Things get really dark in this novel (as the title suggests!). The romance focuses on Ryana (an enchanter) and Elias (the prince of Anthor) as two kingdoms clash.

More updates on Book #3 coming soon!

Introducing new Epic Fantasy Romance: Embrace of the Shade

It’s exciting to be able to show-case new authors, especially those in the Epic Fantasy Romance genre.

Amanda Muratoff and Kayla Mansur are co-authoring a new series, which has just launched, and I’ve invited them along to tell us more!

Over to Amanda and Kayla…


Tell us about the series concept

In all the mass amounts of our reading, our favorite (and most difficult to find) genre is Epic Fantasy Romance. Real, deep fantasy worlds with soul shaking love stories. It would be a bonus if it was a long series, because getting emotionally attached to characters seemed more worth it if there was more than one, two, or even three books. Few series delivered on all our desires, and in the end we often wrote the stories ourselves. These have evolved into full novels, averaging 110,000-120,000 words each. We expect the main storyline of our series to run at least four trilogies, each with its own set of main characters. But the we both know the world ultimate is destined to share so many more stories beyond the current planned series.

The series, the Pantracia Chronicles, is based in a unique and new fantasy-based world over a decade in the making, with lush history and intricate characters and stories. Pantracia is ripe with warring monarchies, a plethora of new and original races and cultures, and peoples with the ability to manipulate the fabric of reality, referred to as the Art. The characters will have you wondering about soulmates, fate and love, while their surroundings lend mystery to politics, war, and unnatural sources of power.

Our first novel is entitled Embrace of the Shade and is broken into three novellas for the purpose of initial rapid-release publishing, titled The Library, The Estate, and The Prison. These comprise the first book in the first trilogy, The Berylian Key.

2FINAL_Embrace Pt.1 CoverWhat’s Embrace of the Shade about?

In a world torn apart, genuine love and sacrifice is far more rare than the Art coursing through the lands of Pantracia. Life-altering events begin when ancient, long forgotten powers resurface in unexpected places. The Berylian Key, a mythical conduit of ancient ley lines, is sought by those who crave to use or protect its unfathomable power. Two who should have been enemies become unlikely partners and lovers, amidst secrets and dark pasts.

Kin is plagued by foolish decisions of his youth which darkly cloud his future. When he enters the Great Library of Capul with less than honorable intentions, he finds an accomplice in Amarie. She quickly becomes a fascination for him and intrigues him enough to set aside his pessimistic acceptance of his fate in order to explore a possible new path. Unknowingly, his choices and actions which followed, forever change the course of history.

Amarie had spent most of her life on her own, and she’d preferred it that way. She was only responsible for the safety of herself and her beloved horse, which meant less blood on her hands when things didn’t go as planned. No one else needed to be hurt because of her. When she discovers the thrill of having a partner in crime in Capul, Amarie questions her own beliefs, despite the danger it puts her in.

Embrace of the Shade – The Library released for readers on September 10, 2018 and is currently available for purchase on Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. The next installment, The Estate, releases October 1, 2018, and the third part releases October 22, 2018. With those three novellas merely comprising the first novel, that will be far from the end! The entire first trilogy will be available all before Spring, 2019.

Buy your copy of Embrace of the Shade – The Library here:

Amazon
Kobo


About the authors

 

 

Amanda Muratoff and Kayla Mansur began writing together back in the era of flip phones and pop rocks – 2001. Of all possible places to meet, it was Neopets and AIM (that’s AOL Instant Messenger for those too young to remember) that brought them together – the most unexpected of friendships built on a mutual love for fantasy writing. Kayla was residing in southern California, and Amanda in British Columbia, Canada. They didn’t even meet in person until 2008, when Amanda ventured to Disneyland (and Kayla spotted the trip on Facebook), and a lifelong friendship truly cemented between them.

Kayla’s life loves also include theatre, crafting, Shakespeare, and of course her husband Ricardo and her cats Vivi and Asimov. She currently resides in Salem, OR but visits Vancouver frequently for the sushi (and Amanda, of course).

Amanda’s passions beyond writing include painting, music, and animals while living with her husband Adam and newborn son Nathan. She lives just outside of Vancouver, BC because even if you work in Vancouver, that doesn’t mean you can afford to live there.

Release day tomorrow!

THE LOST SWALLOW (Book #2: Light and Darkness) is about to leave the nest! Until then … here’s another excerpt to enjoy!


Eventually, sure both Asher and Ninia now slept deeply, the copse silent around them, Mira stood up.

She’d always been quick on her feet as a mudlark; it was the only way she’d survived in a city full of dangers. Her Swallow training had also taught her how to move noiselessly. The life of one of the members of the royal family might have depended on her ability to sneak up behind an assassin.

She moved quietly now, padding across the damp ground and out of the clearing. Mira took care to keep her breathing slow and steady, her senses straining.

Just a few more yards, and she’d be out of earshot. Then she would lengthen her stride.

Mira walked on, the darkness enclosing her in a shroud that turned her blind on this moonless night. She reached out a hand before her, feeling her way so that she didn’t collide with the trees.

The glade where Asher and Ninia slept now lay behind her. Mira smiled into the night and quickened her pace.

Almost there.

She’d only traveled a yard or two farther when a man’s voice split the silence behind her.

“Where are you going?”

Mira whipped around, reaching for her sword. Her fingers tightened around the hilt, as her gaze alighted upon a tall, broad shouldered figure following her. Even in the darkness she could see the long pale hair spilling over his shoulders.

Curse him. Asher had followed her.


 

Get your copy now!
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D7JGT92
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D7JGT92
AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07D7JGT92

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I’m looking for ARC readers!

Just under two weeks until THE LOST SWALLOW is released: August 14, 2018!

This novel has been so much fun to write … even the editing process (which can be like sporking out one’s eyeballs, to be honest) was enjoyable. Each time I finish reading the book—and it’s been a few times now—I don’t want to leave the world, or the three main characters: Mira, Asher, and Ninia.

The novel is an Epic Fantasy Romance—so romance is hugely important to the plot—but it’s also an adventure story about duty, trust, and how the most important choices we make are often the most difficult.

Read THE LOST SWALLOW before anyone else!

Did you read RULED BY SHADOWS (it’s still currently free on Amazon, so grab yourself a copy) and love it? Are you a fan of Epic Fantasy Romance? Make sure you get on my Epic Fantasy Review crew list for THE LOST SWALLOW. All I ask in return is an honest review of the novel on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Book #2 in the Light and Darkness series will be released on August 14, and ARCs are going out soon!

To ensure you get your ARC, please:

  1. Sign up to my Epic Fantasy Romance mailing list (I send out monthly emails. No spam, I promise!)
  2. Then email me at: contact@jaynecastel.com, and put THE LOST SWALLOW REVIEW COPY PLEASE in the subject line.

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Read an excerpt from THE LOST SWALLOW

Not sure you want an ARC yet? Read this scene, where our main characters—Asher and Mira—meet, and decide if the story’s right for you.

***

He was about to move on when a woman on the other side of the market caught his eye.

Cloaked and hooded, her face partially obscured by the cowl of her cloak, she was talking to a crone selling fresh cheeses.

Another gust of wind raced across the walk—and this one tore the woman’s hood back off her face. She had long, black hair, a shade one rarely saw this far north, but it was her eyes he really noticed. Large, slightly slanted, and fringed in dark lashes, they were grey-blue. Dark, finely arched eyebrows slanted up from them, giving her an intense look. The rest of her features: a stubborn jaw, straight nose, and full lips were too strong to make this woman a classic beauty—yet she was striking.

An instant later the woman reached back and yanked her hood into place. Yet as she did, Asher saw the look of panic that flitted across her face. And then—even from yards away—she must have felt the weight of his stare.

Her gaze swiveled and met his over the busy crowd of shoppers and vendors going about their business. Their eyes met, and she froze.

The woman tore her gaze away and said something to the crone who’d been chattering away to her, oblivious. Then she turned and fled into the crowd.

A heartbeat later, Asher was after her.

She moved with the fluidity of a fox across the busy walk. Despite his height, Asher was lithe and quick on his feet—yet he almost lost her in the crowd. Up ahead he saw a flash of black from her cloak as she disappeared up Broad Walk. A moment later she turned onto one of the many walks leading off the thoroughfare.

Asher broke into a run. He hadn’t imagined the panic on her face earlier—this woman wanted to remain inconspicuous. She could be the Swallow he was looking for.

He entered Minnow Walk and spotted his quarry up ahead. She was walking briskly, her cloak flapping behind her. He saw she was dressed in leather breeches and boots, and as the wind raced down the narrow walk and snagged at her cloak, making it billow behind her, he saw that she carried a sword at her side.

His pulse quickened. This must be her.

She glanced over her shoulder then, her features shadowed by her hood. The sight of him in pursuit made her break into a run, and then she turned right down a side-alley.
Asher lengthened his stride. She’d increased her speed, her feet flying over the pitted planks. This alley was foul; someone had just emptied their chamber pot out the window. The walk and walls were splattered with excrement. The stench made Asher’s gorge rise. His boots slipped on something, and he nearly went over. Yet he managed to right himself and plow on. And all the while he kept his gaze fixed upon the woman who sprinted away from him.

Shadows, she’s fast.

At the end of the alley, a swing-bridge linked this wharf with the next one. The woman crossed it in long strides. By the time Asher was halfway across, she had disappeared into another alley up ahead.

Asher followed, crossing a walkway and entering an alley so narrow he could have reached out and touched the walls either side. A wall reared up before him, and he drew to an abrupt halt. He’d run into a dead end, and the woman had disappeared.

He stepped forward a few paces and glanced around, frowning. Then he looked up at the blue sky filled with fast moving clouds above. There were no doorways or windows in this alley, just a high timber palisade at one end.

Where did she go?

Asher turned around, planning to retrace his steps, and found himself facing a cloaked and hooded figure.

It took barely an instant to realize that she’d somehow managed to get behind him. Then she struck out, hitting him hard in the solar plexus.

The force of her punch knocked Asher back against the wall. A heartbeat later, she had a cold blade pressed to his throat.

The woman was shorter than him and had to look up to meet his gaze, but she didn’t appear remotely cowed by his greater size or strength. She pressed the blade close to his windpipe. Her hood had fallen back, her dark hair whipping around her, and her eyes were narrowed and dangerous.

“What do you want?” she asked, her voice a low growl.

Asher held her gaze and inhaled slowly and carefully. She had a murderous glint in her eye.

“To speak to you,” he wheezed, still recovering from her punch. “I’m a friend.”

Liar. If the woman knew what was good for her, she’d end him now.

Her mouth twisted, and the pressure on his throat increased. Asher felt a sting as the tip of the blade dug into his flesh.

“Try another answer.”

***


The Lost Swallow_Cover5Sounds exciting but I’d rather buy a copy

THE LOST SWALLOW is currently available on preorder so if you’d prefer to buy yourself a copy, follow one of the links below to your Amazon store.

Excerpt from THE LOST SWALLOW

THE LOST SWALLOW will be released on August 14 … in the meantime here’s a short preview of the novel. It’s the scene where the two main characters—Asher and Mira—meet.

The Lost Swallow_Cover5Excerpt from THE LOST SWALLOW:

Where did she go?

Asher turned around, planning to retrace his steps, and found himself facing a cloaked and hooded figure.

It took barely an instant to realize that she’d somehow managed to get behind him. Then she struck out, hitting him hard in the solar plexus.

The force of her punch knocked Asher back against the wall. A heartbeat later she had a cold blade pressed to his throat.

The woman was shorter than him, and had to look up to meet his gaze, but she didn’t appear remotely cowed by his greater size or strength. She pressed the blade close to his windpipe. Her hood had fallen back, her dark hair whipping around her, and her eyes were narrowed and dangerous.

“What do you want?” she asked, her voice a low growl.

Asher held her gaze and inhaled slowly and carefully. She had a murderous glint in her eye.

“To speak to you,” he wheezed, still recovering from her punch. “I’m a friend.”

Liar. If the woman knew what was good for her she’d end him now.

Her mouth twisted and the pressure on his throat increased. Asher felt a sting as the tip of the blade dug into his flesh.

“Try another answer,” she growled.

THE LOST SWALLOW is available on preorder!

Woop woop!

The Lost Swallow_Cover5THE LOST SWALLOW (Book #2: Light and Darkness) is available on pre-order! Release date: August 14th!

All her life she’s trusted her instincts—but now she must follow her heart.

Mira belongs to The Swallow Guard—an elite all-female bodyguard who protect the royal family. She resents her role, and has been planning her escape for years. But when her city comes under attack she finds herself on the run, and the unlikely protector of a spoiled and wilful princess. Despite her desire to look after herself, she finds she can’t abandon the girl.

Meanwhile, far to the north, an enchanter receives a chilling mission.

Asher belongs to the Order of Light and Darkness and spends his days healing the sick and injured. Yet when the head of his order commands him to track down the last survivor of a slaughtered royal family—and kill the girl and the woman protecting her—he finds himself in the role of assassin.

In an epic journey through the heart of occupied territory, Mira struggles between her instinct to flee, her urge to protect the gifted young woman who has come to depend on her—and her attraction to an enigmatic stranger who says he’s been sent to help them. Asher must also make a choice. Does he trust his instincts, follow his heart, and bring wrath down upon him … or does he follow orders and risk losing his soul.

If you like the fantasy romance of Radiance, the thrills of the Throne of Glass series, the epic adventure of Game of Thrones, and a fierce heroine, you’ll love Book #2 of the Light and Darkness series.

Preorder your copy of THE LOST SWALLOW and dive into an action-packed, emotion-filled Epic Fantasy Romance about how the most important choices are never easy.

Preorder your copy here:

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D7JGT92
UK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D7JGT92
AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07D7JGT92

More Epic Fantasy Romance novels to try

Why oh why is good Epic Fantasy Romance so hard to find?

51MtqQ9qn4L._SX303_BO1204203200_
Haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR list. Love the cover!

Personally, I’ve had enough of reading about fae/human romances—it’s been done to death, and I’m looking for something different. I’d like to read more fantasy adventure stories that have emotional love-stories. I’ve got Sarah J Maas’ latest novel on my Kindle ready to enjoy, have pre-ordered Grace Draven’s upcoming release, and have also downloaded Kushiel’s Dart—so I’ll be posting some reviews on this blog as I chew through my TBR pile.

In the meantime, here are some great blog posts to help you discover your next Epic Fantasy Romance read. There aren’t many I’ve read on these lists, so it looks like I’ve got some discovery to do.

Three Fantasy Romance Series to sweep you away!

Recommended reads: Fantasy Romance

The Epic World of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Romance

8 Fantasy Romance novels that are sure to satisfy


 Happy reading everyone!

THE LOST SWALLOW is finished!

Well the first draft is! It’s now with my editor.

I’m really excited about THE LOST SWALLOW (I know … I say that about all my books. But I really am). It’s got a lot of romance, loads of action, and is a massively character-driven story. It’s the sequel to RULED BY SHADOWS, so there’s an overarching plot which continues through the trilogy (Book #3 is already planned out). However, it’s also a romance, so there’s a stand-alone love-story.

What’s changed from Book #1?

  • Lilia and Dain (our hero and heroine from RULED BY SHADOWS) don’t appear in this story. Instead Book #2 focuses on Asher (who we meet in the first story) and Mira.
  • RULED BY SHADOWS was a coming of age story, whereas THE LOST SWALLOW is about two individuals with opposing goals, forced to work together for survival.
  • RULED BY SHADOWS is a quest story, where our heroes work toward preventing disaster (the release of a terrible dictator from an enchanted prison), whereas THE LOST SWALLOW takes place in a kingdom that has just recently fallen to the enemy. Our heroes are focused on escaping danger and fleeing to safety before it’s too late.

Introducing The Four Kingdoms of Serran

My story world is The Four Kingdoms of Serran. The kingdoms—Rithmar, Thun, Anthor and Farras—have a bloody history. We’re introduced to the conflict between Thun and Anthor in Book #1 but RULED BY SHADOWS focused more on another, darker, threat. By the time THE LOST SWALLOW begins, the situation has worsened. Thun has fallen and our characters are trapped in occupied territory.

the-four-kingdoms-of-serran

TheLostSwallow_COVER4What’s THE LOST SWALLOW about?

She’s entrusted with protecting a princess … but he’s been sent to kill them both.

Mira belongs to The Swallow Guard—an elite all-female bodyguard who protect the royal family. She hates her role, and has been planning her escape for years—only when her city comes under attack she finds herself on the run, and the unlikely protector of a spoiled and wilful princess.

Asher belongs to the Order of Light and Darkness. He’s an enchanter who spends his days healing the sick and injured. But when the head of his order commands him to track down the last survivor of a slaughtered royal family—and kill the girl and the woman protecting her—he finds himself in the role of assassin.

In an epic journey through the heart of occupied territory, Mira struggles between her desire to flee and start afresh, and her need to protect the gifted young woman who has come to depend on her. Asher must also make a choice. Does he trust his instincts, follow his heart, and bring wrath down upon him—or does he follow orders and risk losing his soul.

Epic adventure and romance collide in this emotional romantic fantasy. Book #2 of the Light and Darkness series, THE LOST SWALLOW is for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Grace Draven and Leigh Bardugo. If you like vibrant world-building, edge of your seat adventure, and a powerful love story, this Epic Fantasy Romance is for you.


I’ll be putting the novel on pre-order with Amazon in the next few days—so watch this space. Release date coming soon!

Book review: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

 

I’ve been trawling Amazon and Goodreads for Epic Fantasy Romances to immerse myself in, but have had difficulty finding those I like. Many are too YA for me. So … in the meantime I picked up this book—and I’m glad I did. It does have a touch of romance in it … but for the most part it’s an Epic Fantasy coming of age story.

68428Loved this novel. Everything worked for me in this story. Great setting and world building, memorable and sympathetic characters, and a strong plot with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. The magic system – whereby allomancers use different metals to enhance their strength, perception, vision and other senses – was highly original and believably drawn.

However, it was the premise of the novel that drew me in first: what if the dark lord had won?

What if Sauron had succeeded in taking Middle Earth? I mean … you have to read the story now, right?

Hundreds of years after the Lord Ruler siezes power, we see a world where ash falls from the sky, where the masses are enslaved and hopeless. In this brutal world lives a girl named Vin. Abandoned by her brother, she lives with a group of thieves, waiting for the day her ‘luck’ will run out. But when the leader of a band of thieves, an allomancer named Kelsier, saves her life and takes her into his band of men who now plot against the Lord Ruler – her life changes forever.

Both Vin and Kelsier are fantastic characters. We really get a feel for what motivates them, and what their weakness and demons are. Vin’s transformation from a frightened child, to a strong gifted woman is great to see. There’s a touch of romance in this story – and I must admit I would have liked to see more – however, there’s also a lot of emotion. I really felt for what was at stake for Kelsier, and what had driven him on his path to bring down the tyrant responsible for the death of his wife.

Highly recommend this novel. It’s well-written, brilliantly paced, with a magical vivid world I can’t wait to return to.

Five stars!

Check it out on Amazon.

Book review: RED SISTER by Mark Lawrence

It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge

51lnAAPhJjLI really enjoyed RED SISTER, even though I don’t tend to go in for fantasy novels where the character spends large amounts of time training or studying. As such, I found the middle of the story a little slow. However, Mark Lawrence’s superb writing style more than makes up for this!

This novel follows the story of Nona, a girl ‘convicted of murder, guilty of worse’, who ends up training with the deadly nuns of ‘The Sisters of Mercy’. Along the way, Nona tries to hide a deadly secret about the past from her friends and the sisters of the order, while she hunts for the truth about who she really is.

The thing I loved the most about this book was the world building. This is a unique, gritty and beautifully drawn fantasy world – a land locked in an advancing ice-age under a dying sun, and a moon that will soon drop from the sky. The inhabitants have found ways to keep the ice back for the moment but they all know they live under the shadow of approaching doom. This knowledge colours their entire world. This was defnitely the most exciting element of RED SISTER for me, and I will pick up the sequel for this alone!

I also love the way Mark Lawrence writes, he has a lyrical, easy-to-read style that sucks you in.

The magic system and the Sisters of Mercy are credible and uniquely drawn, and I enjoyed Nona’s journey of discovery. The plot was good, with a few twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes, although as I mentioned earlier the long sections where we follow Nona during her training did slow the pace of the book (for me).

You’d think a story about a group of girls training to become killer nuns would place this novel in the YA category, but this novel most definitely is not Young Adult. Dark, edgy, violent, and compelling, RED SISTER is an absorbing read.

Check this novel out on Amazon.