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6 Fantastical Romances to Scratch the Romantasy Itch

by Merlin Hoye

With the advent of our new romance imprint Bramble, we hope you won’t blame us if we have love on the brain. If you still want to scratch that fantasy itch, though, we’re here with romantasy recommendations for every spice level!


Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline CareyCassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey

We have to start with Jacqueline Carey. Her lush Kushiel’s Legacy series is, in the immortal words of Olivie Blake, “the beating heart of every romantasy to follow”. Kushiel’s Dart is the story of Phédre nó Delaunay, a courtesan who experiences pain as pleasure, and her bodyguard, Joscelin, who is sworn to celibacy.  Their epic love story put romantic fantasy on the map and Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of that genre-defining tale from Joscelin’s perspective. In Carey’s world, people are allowed to love who and how they wish and things get steamy pretty quickly. 


wolfsong by tj kluneWolfsong by TJ Klune

Wolfsong, the first installment in the Green Creek series, has all the heart and soul of Klune’s more recent books, with far more spice. This book is decidedly for adults. Ox is a young boy with a troubled home life so when a family with a mysterious secret moves in down the street, he quickly bonds with their son Joe. Years later, when Joe suddenly moves away, Ox is forced to grapple with his feelings for him, his own identity, and the turmoil building up all around him. This is a story about trauma, loyalty, loss, and opening yourself up to love despite your scars. Also werewolves. All the angsty werewolves. 


Poster Placeholder of - 79Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston

This novel is an imagistic and literary alternate turn-of-the-twentieth history with romance and elements of the fantastic. It’s also fantastic, so it way earns its recommendation on this list and then some. Gifted vaudeville performers and hoodoo conjurers Redwood and Aidan embark on a journey from the haunted swampland of Georgia to the billed “city of the future” Chicago. There is magic and pain. Community and the prejudiced evils of individuals and society that despise such solidarity and hope. Like the stories Redwood and Aidan conjure not on screen, but in real space, this book lives with you, and inside you.


Legends & Lattes by Travis BaldreeLegends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

The romance in this one is light, almost like a slight dusting of cinnamon on top of (you guessed it) a latte. Low on the steam scale, but off the charts on the cute scale, this is cozy, romantic fantasy at its best. When orc barbarian Viv grows tired of constant battle and bloodshed, she moves to a small town and opens a coffee shop. The residents of the town have never heard of coffee before and are reluctant to try the strange “bean juice”, but soon Viv shows them the wonders of caffeine while finding herself a family and, perhaps, even love. 


Place holder  of - 48Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Now we just need a name for sci-fi romance… Romantifi? Eh, we’ll work on it. Winter’s Orbit is a story about an arranged marriage between princes in space. Jainan and Kiem marry in order to keep the peace after a bout of political upheaval and soon find themselves actually falling in love. This book doesn’t shy away from dark topics, but it is also a wildly entertaining ride full of blackmail, murder mystery, misunderstandings, interplanetary political intrigue, and romance galore. Winter’s Orbit will have you turning the pages far past your bedtime. 


one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

What happens when you take the greatest love story of all time, set it in Manhattan, and add witches? One for My Enemy happens and it happens brilliantly. This is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet where the Antonova and Fedorov families have been rivals for years, each fighting to keep control of their criminal empires through magic. When Lev and Sasha, the two youngest members of the families, meet and fall in love, things quickly run out of control. Come for the fairies and Russian mythology, stay for the big feelings and heart-pounding romance.

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On Writing In Constraints by Jacqueline Carey

Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline CareyWriters love a challenge and today Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Dart and the upcoming companion novel, Cassiel’s Servant, joins us on the blog to discuss the constraints around writing. Check it out here!


By Jacqueline Carey

I enjoy writing in constraints.

I’m not talking about the kind that come with straps and buckles and blindfolds… although to be fair, I’ve written about those constraints more than your average fantasy author. When your heroine has been chosen by the angel of punishment to experience pleasure in pain, you’ve got to expect a healthy dose of spice.

No, literary constraints are what I’m talking about. CASSIEL’S SERVANT is a companion novel. It mirrors KUSHIEL’S DART at every step of the way. From the outset, we see our protagonists embark as children on parallel paths, growing into the roles that will define them. And once their paths merge, the entirety of Joscelin’s actions and dialogue in CASSIEL’S SERVANT is constrained by the framework of KUSHIEL’S DART. And since that novel was narrated by Phèdre nó Delaunay, who misses little and forgets less, there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room in terms of events.

So why write it?

A number of years ago, I wrote a poem on commission for a benefit. I pledged an Elizabethan sonnet and polled readers. Overwhelmingly, fans wanted a love poem from Joscelin, my stoic warrior-priest, to Phèdre, the daring courtesan who stole his heart. For the first time, Joscelin spoke. Not just lines of dialogue—he opened up his inner narrative. And it turns out that my taciturn hero given to letting his blades talk for him is more thoughtful and self-aware than I knew, with a keen sense of the absurd.

I wasn’t sold on it right away. I took a detour into the desert with a different warrior brotherhood in STARLESS, but it wasn’t enough to silence Joscelin’s inner voice. It was stuck in my head like a refrain. Finally, I allowed myself to imagine what Phèdre and Joscelin’s journey might look like through his eyes.

A lot different.

One thing about constraints, they force you to be creative, patient and diligent. My Sundering duology was constrained by the concept—LORD OF THE RINGS reenvisioned as epic tragedy. It was constrained by copyright issues that meant I had to recreate Tolkien’s plot structure and build a world to support it in forms that were at once original and yet recognizable as mirrors of the source material.

More recently, MIRANDA AND CALIBAN is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest which was wholly constrained by the original source material. There’s a lot of empty space between the beginning and the ending of that play. Like twelve years’ worth! It allows room for creative improvisation.

Side note: Renaissance magic is wwaaaayy more boring than you might expect. My commitment to historical authenticity forged some surprising constraints. Renaissance magic is mostly astrology and casting horoscopes. Kind of like a slumber party for gouty mathematicians and their wealthy patrons.

In some ways, CASSIEL’S SERVANT might be the tightest literary squeeze yet. I had to adhere to my own original source material. Once we left the Prefectory of the Cassiline Brotherhood, there were very few opportunities for improvisation within the strictures of the plot.

But it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of space to land a knockout.

One thing (among many) for which Bruce Lee was famous was the “one-inch punch,” featured in various Southern Chinese martial arts styles. According to Wikipedia and the countless kung fu movies I watched in college, this is a skill which generates tremendous amounts of impact force at extremely close distances. MythBusters registered the impact of a one-inch punch at 153 lbs with a force gauge. Uma Thurman one-inch punched her way out of a buried coffin in Kill Bill.

For me, writing with constraints requires a similar skill. It forces me to concentrate on extracting the maximum dramatic impact from any pivotal scene. And the one place of freedom, of expansiveness, of infinite possibility, within the story as it unfurls is inside of Joscelin himself.

There’s a lot of intrigue in KUSHIEL’S DART. Picking apart the tangled threads is one of the pleasures Phèdre’s perspective as a courtesan, spy and pawn in this ongoing game of crowns and thrones affords.

Joscelin, on the other hand, would be hard put to care less about political intrigue. It’s not just that he’s uninterested in it—it takes a shocking turn of events for him to fully grasp the fact that this frivolous-seeming assignment is deadly serious. It’s also due to the fact that House Verreuil is basically a D’Angeline version of “old money”. Political maneuvering and speculation are considered gauche. If you have some interesting thoughts on dog breeding or hydraulics, they’re all ears, but money and politics are things one does not discuss in polite society.

Fittingly, Joscelin’s life is circumscribed by constraint. As the middle son of an old aristocratic family, he’s pledged from birth to the Cassiline Brotherhood, bound by tradition and filial duty. He’s bound by his vows and his own sense of honor. Falling in love with Phèdre is the one-inch punch that turns his world upside down and shatters his heart to pieces. Writing in constraints has its rewards!

There are plenty of fight scenes in CASSIEL’S SERVANT and I loved writing them from Joscelin’s view in the thick of the fray—even during the numerous times he went down swinging in captivity. But for me, nothing lands as hard as that one-inch punch of true love.

Jacqueline Carey is the New York Timesbestselling author of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels. Recent novels include the Shakespearean adaptation Miranda and Caliban and the epic fantasy standalone Starless. Carey enjoys doing research on a wide variety of arcane topics, and an affinity for travel has taken her from Iceland to China to date. She currently lives in West Michigan.

Pre-order Cassiel’s Servant Here:

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Every LGBTQ+ Book Coming from Tor Books in 2023

Who’s ready to kick-off Pride with some AMAZING new books?? WE ARE. Check out our list of SFF books with LGBTQ+ representation publishing in 2023 🏳️‍🌈


sandymancer by david edisonSandymancer by David Edison

All Caralee Vinnet has ever known is dust. Her whole world is made up of the stuff; water is the most precious thing in the cosmos. A privileged few control what elements remain. But the world was not always a dust bowl and the green is not all lost. Caralee has a secret—she has magic in her bones and can draw up power from the sand beneath her feet to do her bidding. But when she does she winds up summoning a monster: the former god-king who broke the world 800 years ago and has stolen the body of her best friend. Caralee will risk the whole world to take back what she’s lost. If her new companion doesn’t kill her first.

The Terraformers by Annalee NewitzThe Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

Destry’s life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she cares for the planet and its burgeoning eco-systems as her parents and their parents did before her. But the bright, clean future they’re building comes under threat when Destry discovers a city full of people that shouldn’t exist, hidden inside a massive volcano. As she uncovers more about their past, Destry begins to question the mission she’s devoted her life to, and must make a choice that will reverberate through Sask-E’s future for generations to come.

ON SALE NOW!

Placeholder of  -76The Warden by Daniel M. Ford

She had the money, the connections, even the brains. It was simple: become one of the only female necromancers, pass as many certifications as she could, get a post near the capital, then… profit. The funny thing about plans is that they are seldom under your control. Now Aelis, a daughter of a noble house and a trained Magister of the Lyceum, finds herself in the far-removed village of Lone Pine. Mending fences and delivering baby goats, serving people who want nothing to do with her. But, not all is well in Lone Pine, and as the villagers Aelis is reluctantly getting to know start to behave strangely, Aelis begins to suspect that there is far greater need for a warden of her talents than she previously thought.

ON SALE NOW!

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Furious Heaven by Kate Elliott

The Republic of Chaonia fleets, under the joint command of Princess Sun and her formidable mother, Queen-Marshal Eirene, have defeated and driven out an invading fleet of the Phene Empire, though not without heavy losses. But the Empire remains undeterred. While Chaonia scrambles to rebuild its military, the Empire’s rulers are determined to squash Chaonia once and for all. On the eve of Eirene’s bold attack on the rich and populous Karnos System, an unexpected tragedy strikes the republic. Sun must take charge or lose the throne. Will Sun be content with the pragmatic path laid out by her mother for Chaonia’s future? Or will she choose to forge her own legend?

ON SALE NOW!

Place holder  of - 45In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe. The day Vic repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio. When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory and together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio.

ON SALE NOW!

The First Bright ThingThe First Bright Thing by J. R. Dawson by J.R. Dawson

Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top. But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

ON SALE 6/13/23

Image Place holder  of - 39Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Ox Matheson was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change him forever. For the family are shapeshifters, who can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known. He also finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Joe is charming and handsome, but haunted by scars he cannot heal. Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town, and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

ON SALE 7/4/23

Image Placeholder of - 59Ravensong by TJ Klune

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves. It should have been enough. And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won. Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them. But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

ON SALE 8/1/23

He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan

Zhu Yuanzhang, the Radiant King, is riding high after her victory that tore southern China from its Mongol masters. Now she burns with a new desire: to seize the throne and crown herself emperor. But Zhu isn’t the only one with imperial ambitions. Her neighbor in the south, the courtesan Madam Zhang, wants the throne for her husband—and she’s strong enough to wipe Zhu off the map. To stay in the game, Zhu will have to gamble everything on a risky alliance with an old enemy: the talented but unstable eunuch general Ouyang, who has already sacrificed everything for a chance at revenge on his father’s killer, the Great Khan.

ON SALE 8/22/23

Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

The power of the Sixth Gate grows stronger within Raine each day—to control it, she needs lessons no living Draoihn can teach her. Her fledgling friendships are tested to a breaking point as she tries to face what she has become, and her master Ulovar is struck by a mysterious sickness that slowly saps the vitality from his body, leaving Raine to face her growing darkness alone. There’s only one chance to turn the tide of power surging within her—to learn the secrets the Draoihn themselves purged from the world. The book can teach her. She doesn’t know where she found it, or when exactly, but its ever changing pages whisper power that has lain untouched for centuries….

ON SALE 10/24/23

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

When an injury throws a young, battle-hungry orc off her chosen path, she may find that what we need isn’t always what we seek. Set in the world of New York Times bestselling Legends & LattesBookshops & Bonedust takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and second-hand books. Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk. What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do? Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine.

ON SALE 11/7/23

All the Hidden Paths by Foz Meadows

With the plot against them foiled and the city of Qi-Katai in safe hands, Velasin and Caethari have begun to test the waters of their relationship. But the wider political ramifications of their marriage are still playing out across two nations, and all too soon, they’re summoned north to Tithena’s capital city, Qi-Xihan, to present themselves to its monarch. With Caethari newly invested as his grandmother’s heir and Velasin’s old ghosts gnawing at his heels, what little peace they’ve managed to find is swiftly put to the test. Pursued by unknown assailants and with Qi-Xihan’s court factions jockeying for power, Vel and Cae must use all the skills at their disposal to not only survive, but thrive.

ON SALE 12/5/23

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Every Tor Book Coming in Summer 2023

School might be out for summer (or forever. Some of us have been around a minute), but we’re ALWAYS hitting the books.

Let’s get it.


the woods of arcady by michael moorcockThe Woods of Arcady by Michael Moorcock

In the 1970s, Michael Moorcock, a writer of genre fiction, attempts to save his failing marriage by taking his wife and daughters to Paris. One night in a bar he is amazed to find himself drinking with heroes of story and history. The next day he awakens aboard a sailing ship, kidnapped into another reality by a French highwayman and the four Musketeers, who know Moorcock well from adventures in London’s Alsacia…but that was another Moorcock, from another world. The main narrative of The Woods of Arcady is punctuated by episodes from the story of the Blackstones and by spirited, freewheeling appearances by Captain Buggerly Otherly and his companions from the Second Ether. As readers move deeper into Moorcock’s multiverse, it rises up on all sides, ready to astound.

On Sale 6/6/23


the first bright thing by j.r. dawsonThe First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson

Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top. But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

On Sale 6/13/23


everfair by nisi shawlEverfair by Nisi Shawl

In this re-imagining of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo, African American missionaries join forces with British socialists to purchase land from the Congo Free State’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, which they name Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven for native populations of the Congo as well as settlers from around the world, including dream-eyed Europeans attempting to create a better society, formerly enslaved people returning from America, and Chinese railroad builders escaping hard labor. Using the combined knowledge of four continents, Everfair becomes a land of spying cats and gulls, nuclear dirigibles buoyed by barkcloth balloons, and silent pistols that shoot poison knives. With this technology, Everfair will attempt to defeat the Belgian tyrant Leopold II. But even if they can defeat their great enemy, a looming world war and political infighting may threaten to destroy everything they have built.

On Sale 6/13/23


the frugal wizard's handbook for surviving medieval england by brandon sandersonThe Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson

A man awakes in a clearing in what appears to be medieval England with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there. Chased by a group from his own time, his sole hope for survival lies in regaining his missing memories, making allies among the locals, and perhaps even trusting in their superstitious boasts. His only help from the “real world” should have been a guidebook entitled The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, except his copy exploded during transit. The few fragments he managed to save provide clues to his situation, but can he figure them out in time to survive?

On Sale 6/27/23


wolfsong by tj kluneWolfsong by TJ Klune

Oxnard Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then his father left. Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harboring a secret that would change him forever. The Bennetts are shapeshifters. They can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty, and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known, but he finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack, and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – charming, handsome, but haunted – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them. The Green Creek Series is for adult readers.

On Sale 7/4/23


Ebony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken BebelleEbony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

Emiko Soong belongs to one of the eight premier magical families of the world. But Emiko never needed any magic. Because she is the Blade of the Soong Clan. Or was. Until she’s drenched in blood in the middle of a market in China, surrounded by bodies and the scent of blood and human waste as a lethal perfume. The Butcher of Beijing now lives a quiet life in San Francisco, importing antiques. But when a shinigami, a god of death itself, calls in a family blood debt, Emiko must recover the Ebony Gate that holds back the hungry ghosts of the Yomi underworld. Or forfeit her soul as the anchor. What’s a retired assassin to do but save the City by the Bay from an army of the dead?

On Sale 7/11/23


The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Part 5The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Five based on the novel by Robert Jordan, written by Chuck Dixon, and illustrated by Marcio Fiorito and Francis Nuguit

In The Eye of the World: the Graphic Novel, Volume Five, Rand al’Thor and his friends and companions have been separated by attacks by Darkfriends and scattered across the lands. Having persevered, they make their way to Caemlyn, where they hope to be reunited. But their roads have grown ever more dangerous. Lan, Moiraine, and Nynaeve rescue Perrin and Egwene from the Whitecloaks. But five traveling together attract more attention than two or three traveling on their own…. Rand and Mat have encountered more than one Darkfriend, often barely escaping without injury. They’re out of money and in too much danger to stop and work for more. Luckily, they make some new friends, but unluckily, Rand tumbles into a royal garden, where he is seized by the Palace Guards and hauled before the Queen….

On Sale 7/25/23


The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Part 6The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Six based on the novel by Robert Jordan, written by Chuck Dixon, and illustrated by Andie Tong

The Eye of the World: the Graphic Novel, Volume Six, Rand al’Thor and his companions—his old friends from Emond’s Field; the brave warrior Lan Mandragoran; and Moiraine, the mysterious and powerful Aes Sedai—have at last been reunited. Their journey in search of the Eye of the World nears its climax as they dare the otherworldly Ways, guided by an Ogier, Loial, and narrowly escape the menace of the soul-stealing Machin Shin. When the group reaches the realm of the Green Man, they believe themselves safe. But two of the Forsaken are waiting for them, ready to attack and to guide their dark lord, Ba’alzamon, to the ones he has been seeking!

On Sale 7/25/23


Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline CareyCassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey

Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of cult favorite Kushiel’s Dart from the point of view of Joscelin, Cassiline warrior-priest and protector of Phèdre nó Delaunay. He’s sworn to celibacy and the blade as surely as she’s pledged to pleasure, but the gods they serve have bound them together. When both are betrayed, they must rely on each other to survive. From his earliest training to captivity amongst their enemies, his journey with Phèdre to avert the conquest of Terre D’Ange shatters body and mind… and brings him an impossible love that he will do anything to keep. Even if it means breaking all vows and losing his soul.

On Sale 8/1/23


ravensong by tj kluneRavensong by TJ Klune

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves. It should have been enough. And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won. Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them. But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within. Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken. The Green Creek Series is for adult readers.

On Sale 8/1/23


masters of death by olivie blakeMasters of Death by Olivie Blake

Viola Marek is a struggling real estate agent, and a vampire. But her biggest problem currently is that the house she needs to sell is haunted. The ghost haunting the mansion has been murdered, and until he can solve the mystery of how he died, he refuses to move on. Fox D’Mora is a medium, and though he is also most-definitely a shameless fraud, he isn’t entirely without his uses—seeing as he’s actually the godson of Death. When Viola seeks out Fox to help her with the ghost infestation, he becomes inextricably involved in a quest that neither he nor Vi expects (or wants). But with the help of an unruly poltergeist, a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel, a love-stricken reaper, and a few mindfulness-practicing creatures, Vi and Fox soon discover the difference between a mysterious lost love and an annoying dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as they thought.

On Sale 8/8/23


the salt-black tree by lilith saintcrowThe Salt-Black Tree by Lilith Saintcrow

Nat Drozdova has crossed half the continent in search of the stolen Dead God’s Heart, the only thing powerful enough to trade for her beautiful, voracious, dying mother’s life. Yet now she knows the secret of her own birth—and that she’s been lied to all her young life. The road to the Heart ends at the Salt-Black Tree, but to find it Nat must pay a deadly price. Pursued by mouthless shadows hungry for the blood of new divinity as well as the razor-wielding god of thieves, Nat is on her own. Her journey leads through a wilderness of gods old and new, across a country as restless as its mortal inhabitants, and it’s too late to back out now. Blood may not always prevail. Magic might not always work. And the young Drozdova is faced with an impossible choice: Save her mother’s very existence…or accept the consequences of her own.

On Sale in Trade Paperback 8/8/23


book of night by holly blackBook of Night by Holly Black

Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make. She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall. Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but getting out isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that Charlie’s shadowless and possibly soulless boyfriend, Vince, has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies. 

On Sale in Trade Paperback 8/15/23


thornhedge by t. kingfisherThornhedge by T. Kingfisher

There’s a princess trapped in a tower. This isn’t her story. Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right? But nothing with fairies is ever simple. Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…

On Sale 8/15/23


contrarian by l.e. modesitt, jr. Contrarian by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. 

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Excerpt Reveal: Cassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey

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Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline Carey

The lush epic fantasy that inspired a generation with a single precept: “Love As Thou Wilt.”

Returning to the realm of Terre d’Ange which captured an entire generation of fantasy readers, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Carey brings us a hero’s journey for a new era.

In Kushiel’s Dart, a daring young courtesan uncovered a plot to destroy her beloved homeland. But hers is only half the tale. Now see the other half of the heart that lived it.

Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of cult favorite Kushiel’s Dart from the point of view of Joscelin, Cassiline warrior-priest and protector of Phèdre nó Delaunay. He’s sworn to celibacy and the blade as surely as she’s pledged to pleasure, but the gods they serve have bound them together. When both are betrayed, they must rely on each other to survive.

From his earliest training to captivity amongst their enemies, his journey with Phèdre to avert the conquest of Terre D’Ange shatters body and mind… and brings him an impossible love that he will do anything to keep.

Even if it means breaking all vows and losing his soul.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Cassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey, on sale 8/1/23


Chapter 3

As we descended at last from the Siovalese mountains, the air became thicker, warmer, and damper.

I missed the heights.

I missed my family, although I did my best not to think on it.

I missed fresh-baked bread, my mother and brothers and sisters, my father’s stern affection, the warmth of the great hall and the genial chaos of milling hounds.

At the same time, it was my first visit to a city, and I could not help but be excited. The city of Bergeroche spilled down the foothills of the Siovalese mountains along the course of a tumultuous river, broadening at the base where the river slowed and widened. All the streets were paved with cobblestones and bustling with activity. There was a market in the square at the city’s center with vendors selling various preserved goods and cellared root vegetables, as well as early spring crops like peas and sallet greens.

Although we arrived in the city with hours of daylight to spare, our mounts were weary from the long journey and our stores were low. In a spate of magnanimity, Master Jacobe determined that we would pass the night in a genteel inn where we might enjoy a hot meal and a decent pallet and our horses would be well tended.

The inn was called the Shepherd’s Sweetheart; it is peculiar, sometimes, the details that one recalls.

There was a brief silence that fell as we entered, which did not seem strange to me—I was a lord’s son, I was accustomed to people assuming a respectful silence in my father’s presence and it seemed to me that a pair of Cassiline Brothers were no less deserving. But I had also learned to listen to different kinds of silences in the past weeks; this one held a certain curiosity, too.

I learned why soon enough.

My younger brother Mahieu loved to build dams in a creek that flowed from a small mountain spring into Lake Verre, endlessly fascinated by the way the patterns of water changed with each branch or twig he placed. I could not help but think of that when the lone woman entered the inn’s common room, her presence preceded by the ripples of attention it sent through the place.

I thought nothing of it at first; she was a pretty dark-haired lady, not young but not old, either. She greeted a number of the inn’s patrons with a variety of familiar pleasantries—a gracious smile, a pleased nod, a lingering touch. She acknowledged those who struck me as fellow travellers with sidelong glances of warmth and welcome, a hint of merriment and promise lurking in the upturned corners of her mouth. The barkeep poured her a brimming cup of cordial unbidden, and it wasn’t until she turned to accept it that I saw the finial of the marque inked at the nape of her neck below her upswept hair and realized that she was a Servant of Naamah.

At ten years of age and pledged to the Cassilines, even I knew what that meant.

This is what I understood of the history and founding of Terre d’Ange: A thousand and a half years ago, the One God begat a divine son on a mortal woman and that son was Yeshua ben Yosef, who was revered for his wisdom by the people of his ancestors. But Yeshua and his teachings caused trouble and strife in the Tiberian Empire, and so the Imperator had his soldiers execute him by nailing him to a wooden cross like a criminal, taunting him and piercing his side with a spear. But they did not know that Yeshua was divine. As he hung dying, the woman who loved him best in the world, as much and more as his mother even, knelt at the foot of the cross and wept, covering her eyes with her hair. Her name was Mary of Magdala and my sister Jehane always insisted on taking her role when we staged a tableau. Of course, Luc was Yeshua, sagging dramatically on a wooden ladder, his head hanging and arms outflung, while I had to content myself with being a Tiberian soldier poking him in the ribs with a broom handle.

But a thousand and more years ago, Yeshua’s dripping blood mingled with the Magdelene’s falling tears in the soil, and there Blessed Elua was engendered and nourished in the womb of Earth.

As our own mother explained, the Earth is the Mother of us all, not just the ground upon which we walk. As the sun of the One God in his Heaven shines upon her, she brings forth all things: the wheat we grind into flour, the grapes we press into wine, the grass on which our flocks graze, the trees we hew into timber.

And she brought forth Blessed Elua.

Blessed Elua burst from the womb of Earth fully formed, laughing and singing; but the people of Tiberium reviled him as the scion of an enemy and the people of his ancestors regarded him as an abomination, for his birth seemed unnatural to them.

So Elua wandered the world, exploring it with no plan or purpose, simply rejoicing in its existence.

Our father had a great fondness for maps and he took considerable pleasure in charting Elua’s journey for us. “From here to here,” he would say, tracing a course with a hovering forefinger on a faded vellum map. “Elua wandered barefoot and alone, leaving a trail of flowers blooming in the wake of his footsteps. And thence to ancient Persis  ” He would look up at his attentive children with a bright, expectant gaze. “And of course, you know what happened there, do you not?”

There was always a clamor as all of us older children begged to be the one to tell how the King of Persis threw Blessed Elua into prison and the tale of the One God’s wayward grandson reaching Heaven at last. And while the One God turned his face away, still grieving for the earthly suffering and death of his rightfully begotten son Yeshua, there were eight members of the angelic hierarchy who were moved by Elua’s plight and descended from on high to attend to him.

Those were Elua’s Companions, and they were Shemhazai—the ancestor of my family’s line—Camael, Azza, Eisheth, Kushiel, Anael, Cassiel, and Naamah.

It was Naamah who beguiled the King of Persis into freeing Blessed Elua from his prison, and there were many adventures that followed until Elua and his Companions found their way to Terre d’Ange, where the people received them with open arms, and they knew that they were home.

Although I was bound for a life of celibacy, I was not above surreptitiously skimming the pleasure-books that Luc found on the high shelves in the library at Verreuil, so I understood to some extent what it meant that Naamah lay with the King of Persis to secure Blessed Elua’s freedom or that she lay with strangers on their journey to procure money for food, for Elua was half-mortal and unlike angels, must needs eat. I understood enough.

And there in Terre d’Ange, Elua founded the city that bears his name. His Companions divided the land amongst themselves into seven provinces and shared their gifts with the people. During their time on mortal soil, they begot a great many children—all save Cassiel, who claimed no province for his own and lay with no woman nor any man.

Those chosen to serve Cassiel followed in his footsteps.

Those who chose to serve Naamah followed in hers.

In the Shepherd’s Sweetheart, the dark-haired woman’s gaze alighted on our small party, seated at the far end of one of the long tables. Her eyes widened in curiosity at the sight of a pair of Cassiline Brothers. Léon blushed furiously and stared down at his trencher as she crossed toward us, gliding with a practiced elegance that would have turned my older sister green with envy.

Master Jacobe sighed.

“Messires Cassiline.” The dark-haired woman lifted her cup in salute. “Welcome to Bergeroche. Pray tell, what brings you?” Her gaze shifted to me. “Are you their ward, young messire?” The curve of her mouth deepened. “A royal heir in disguise, mayhap? You look as though you’re on an adventure.”

There was only warmth and no unkindness in her teasing, but it angered me nonetheless. I didn’t care to be treated like a playacting child and I didn’t like the way her presence turned Léon from a dazzling warrior to a blushing youth.

I stood and bowed with cold precision, relishing the thump of my crossed forearms. “I am Joscelin Verreuil, second-born son of my House,” I informed her. “And I am pledged to serve Cassiel.”

That wasn’t true in a strict sense, since nine years of training and a series of vows lay between me and the goal of becoming a Cassiline Brother, but it was true enough and it took the dark-haired woman aback. She looked at me in a brief moment of surprise, lips parted, then gave her head a rueful shake.

“Well then, may Elua bless and keep you, young messire,” she said to me.

“’Tis a challenging course you’ve set for yourself.” She cocked her head and angled her gaze at Master Jacobe, who returned it impassively. “I daresay you understand the full cost of the sacrifice you’re asking the boy to make even if he doesn’t yet,” she mused. “Is that why you begin training them so young?”

He didn’t deign to reply, but Léon jerked his chin up, eyes blazing. “It takes a fair bit more skill to become a warrior than a whore!”

This time, she didn’t flinch, only looked amused. “Oh, does it?”

“My lady.” Master Jacobe cleared his throat. “Forgive my students’ uncouth behavior. We did not come here to provoke.” He grimaced and kneaded his bad knee. “There may be fundamental disagreements of philosophy between the Servants of Naamah and Cassiel, but we are all D’Angelines, are we not?”

There were murmurs of agreement from the dozens of patrons eavesdropping on the entire encounter. I sat down, feeling chastened.

“Ah, old man.” The dark-haired woman’s tone softened. “Yes, and I hear the admonishment you are too courteous to say aloud. You are right, it was unbecoming of me to bait your young students.” She studied him. “Though you’re not so old, are you? It’s only that your body has known no mercy, no tenderness.” Reaching down, she laid a gentle hand upon his knee. “I studied with an adept of Balm House in my younger days. Let me make amends and ease your pain.”

I was fairly sure wagers were laid on the outcome of his response.

“No.” Politely but firmly, Master Jacobe removed her hand from his knee. “Be assured, my lady, that I do believe your offer was made in good faith. But please understand that it does not accord with my faith.”

Behind me, I heard the discreet clink of coins being exchanged. Wagers had definitely been laid.

She straightened. “I spoke only of comfort.”

A muscle in his jaw twitched. “Nonetheless, it is a luxury I cannot afford.”

The dark-haired woman inclined her head, her gaze filled with regret. “As you will, messire.”

To that, Master Jacobe made no reply.

When my thoughts chanced across that encounter many years later, I wondered if my mentor truly understood what was offered and refused that evening; and mayhap he did, for he was a man who thought and felt deeply in his own quiet way. I think it is likely, however, that he did not.

As for me, there was no way my ten-year-old self could have known the encounter for a harbinger of events not yet set in motion.

That was likely for the best.

Copyright © 2023 from Jacqueline Carey

Pre-order Cassiel’s Servant Here:

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