Thrilled to Announce

My new series, Ars Numina!

I’ve been teasing you with this revelation for a while, seems like since May or so, which is when the idea first took root.  But it takes time for a project to pass through various stages of completion, and happily, we are there! So without further ado, let me tell you about the secret project I’ve been working on. I haven’t written any romance since my NA series, and I miss it. So I hope you’re eager to read some paranormal sexytimes because I am all over it.

Welcome to the dangerous, delicious world of Ars Numina–with the fae Eldritch, ferocious Animari, and brutal Golgoth fighting for their happy endings. If you love paranormal romance and shapeshifters, this series is for you. The most notable aspect is that there are no human characters. They do exist elsewhere in the world, but these stories are set exclusively in paranormal territories. The books are both futuristic and alt-world, with enough intrigue, passion and action to sate an eager appetite.

The fae Eldritch have inspired elven and fairy lore over the years. They have strange tech and an ancient culture. A long-lived people, they are elegant and inscrutable to other supernatural powers. They also train an order of legendary assassins, known as Noxblades, and their ultimate goal is unknown.  The Animari are shifters with three main groups in power: the Ash Valley pride (cats), the Burnt Amber clan (bears), and the Pine Ridge pack (wolves). There are other shifters, but they are not part of the official alliance, and therefore lack political leverage. The Golgoth are the most feared, known to be brutal and relentless in their drive to conquest, and when they transform, it is into draconian or monstrous reptilian forms.

Tentatively, I have planned a six book arc, each about a different couple. The titles follow:

The Leopard King  (On sale at $2.99 during preorder period and release week only)
The Demon Prince
The Wolf Lord
The Shadow Warrior
The War Priest
The Jaguar Knight

And here is the blurb for book one!

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

Here’s the cover art reveal!! A thousand thanks to Kanaxa.

tlk_large
thedemonprince_digital_largeHere’s what an early reader had to say about book 1:

“I really enjoyed the story. It was exactly where my current reading glom is. Lots of detailed world building like I’d find in UF but all the romance, sex, and HEA I need. It gave me the same happy feels as Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series.”

I’m so excited about this project and hope you are too! Now for the most important part… the first book will be out on…

SEPTEMBER 28!!

I’m adding the preorder links I have now and will update this post with more as they come from the vendors.

Preorder from Amazon

Preorder from Kobo

Preorder from iBooks

Preorder from BN/Nook

Preorder from 24Symbols

(More links to come)

Feel free to post your thoughts about the series or ask questions. I’ll give away 5 preorders here, too! (Random winners) Since I’m doing this series independently, I request your support, readers. Please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested.

The Announcement of Awesomeness.

dance-monkey

Dance monkey in the house! (You know what that means.) Okay, first… review this post: Riding the Dragon. Are we on the same page regarding what books I’m talking about? Awesome!

So basically, we pitched these books a while back. Remember, I said I wouldn’t talk about that process and I didn’t. Mum’s the word! We got multiple offers, but in the end, we sold my new adult romance trilogy to Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin. Harlequin 4232detail

 

I can’t even articulate how much my new editor loves these books! Her enthusiasm (and the excitement of the WHOLE team at HQN) has been absolutely mind-blowing.

At this juncture, you might ask, “How so, Ann?”

I’m so glad you’re curious! THIS is why:  

I Want It That Way  |  As Long As You Love Me  |  The Shape of My Heart

If you’ve clicked those links, you’ll see that the first two books are already up for pre-order. The third one hasn’t posted yet but it should be out around the end of November, if the other release dates are any clue. This expeditious production schedule requires stratospheric commitment and devotion on the part of the publisher and the author. It’s great news for readers because you get to read the first in four months instead of waiting a full year to eighteen months. Honestly, the speed at which HQN has gotten behind this series is astonishing, incredible, and amazingly wonderful.  That quickly, I have six books coming out in 2014 instead of three. I hope this thrills you as much as it does me, readers. 

These are books I wrote from sheer love and passion, wedging them around my other deadlines even though my workload is already… sufficient. (Note: others would supply the word maniacal.) I have to write on spec. I have to chase chimeras down dark alleys. And I’m so glad I did.  I’m thrilled to be working with Margo and HQN; I wanted that since 2007 when we first pitched Grimspace, so this feels like a professional milestone. I remember going to a HQN panel at RWA, just so I could meet her and thank her for the nice things she said about my book. It meant a lot to the noob I was at the time.

Pretty awesome, huh? Feel free to leave questions and comments below. A random commenter will be selected to receive an arc of IWITW.

Dance monkey does the YA sashay

dance monkeyIt has been really hard to keep quiet for the last two weeks. Major excitement has been percolating behind the scenes, but now, at last, I have clearance to announce the uber-exciting news.

NEW DEALS

HORDE, the final book in the dystopian Razorland trilogy, again to Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends, in a nice deal. By Laura Bradford, World English

MORTAL BEAUTY, Doctor Faustus meets Mean Girls in this edgy paranormal revenge trilogy set in a dark world of secret societies, twisted bargains, and forbidden love. Three books, in a good deal, to Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends. By Laura Bradford, North American.

Those are my guesstimates of what the PM announcements will say. How close I am, who knows? But the important bits are, I have sold FOUR more YA titles to Feiwel & Friends. Squee! Uber squee!

The schedule will tentatively look like this:

Fall 2013 Horde
2014 Mortal Beauty
2015 Dire Charm
2016 Dead Lovely

Title and projected dates may change. (Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.)

It’s so awesome to be able the share the news at last. Feel free to post comments, questions, and squees.

St. Patrick’s Day Reader Party

As many of you know, I will be signing in Las Vegas on March 17th, along with my awesome cohorts:

Zoe Archer
Vivian Arend
Lauren Dane
Tessa Dare
Megan Hart
Courtney Milan

Until now, we didn’t have the particulars. But now we do! First, the when & where:

Chapel of the Flowers
1717 Las Vegas Blvd. So.
Las Vegas, NV 89104 USA
Party starts at 9 pm.

From the awesome, amazing manager from BN, who is responsible for all of this brilliance:

chapel “We will start in the La Capella Chapel. It is the largest and is very Tuscan in feeling. Someone from the festival will introduce the event and then we thought that we could have each of you read a little from one of your books. After the readings, the winning couple will have their vow renewal. Then, everyone will head outside to the Glass Garden for book signings and a reception.”

There will be cake and sparkling cider and treats from the Las Vegas book clubs. Along with us, the authors, and our books, of course. There will be brides and newlyweds and wedding parties all over the place!

The city of Las Vegas is sponsoring a contest, where you submit an entry about the most romantic thing you’ve done while married, and you could win a vow renewal at our event!

So… seven awesome authors. Books. Romance. Cake. Readings. Free vow renewal. Has any event ever been so epic? Thank you, Crystal, BN, City of Las Vegas, Chapel of the Flowers, and all the book lovers who made this possible! I am so excited I want to scream!!

September Hot Read – Pleasure Unbound

Pleasure Unbound cover

The Squee

I’m not even a huge paranormal reader, but the romance between Tayla and Eidolon hit all the right notes for me. What an amazing book! I’ve never read anything so delicious in my life. The writing … lovely, powerful, evocative and edgy. The characters? Strong, compelling and memorable. The plot? Tight as a drum, break-neck pace.

It’s also chock full of interesting secondary characters, who don’t seem like sequel bait so much as an important part of the protagonists’ lives. Ms. Ione also manages something very difficult; she does a compelling job with the world-building, giving us just enough to let us understand what’s going on, but there’s never an info dump. I’d say this is one of the most original paranormal romances I’ve read all year. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s about the demonic underworld, centered around a hospital that takes care of otherworldly injuries. Genius! Her execution of this creative premise is nothing short of genius.

I picked this book up after I finished my draft of Doubleblind and I devoured it in one sitting. The passion between to the two leads is explosive, and the sex is set-fire-to-the-pages hot. Ms. Ione has also set up some of the best tension I’ve ever seen between two leads. You know how sometimes in romances, the reason the hero and heroine don’t get together seems a bit manufactured, full of dime-store angst? In this book, there’s a serious Romeo and Juliet vibe. If I’d emailed her a list of my criteria before she wrote this book (and I didn’t), telling her what I want in a paranormal romance, she couldn’t have written a novel more perfectly suited to my tastes.

For me, this book was an A+. If you like dark, gritty, edgy, intensely emotional and erotic romances with a rocket ship full of genuine conflict and angst, you don’t want to miss this book. I’m now a total fangirl (and that doesn’t happen too often). I can’t wait for the next installment. (Aside to Ms. Ione: I’m willing to barter any arc of mine for a sneak peek. I have Doubleblind… I also have Blue Diablo ready to go. Patricia Briggs called it, “…gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy. Outstanding and delicious.” Maybe we can make a deal? Email me, okay?!)

Anyway… moving on…

The Contest

You knew this was coming. Whenever I love a book this much, I give away copies of it. So that’s it. I’m buying two of these and mailing them to random winners. So get in comments and show Ms. Ione some love. Tell me how awesome she is and why you want to read this book. That’s right; I want shameless sucking up and heavy-handed flattery. Winners posted on Tuesday, Sept 9. You have until Monday at 11:59 p.m. to get your name in here.

sharon shinn…

Is all that and a bag of chips.

She totally chatted with me for an hour and a half before our panel. (I had a panel with her! *dies of bliss*) Then I sat next to her at the signing. Her line was a sight to behold and I had a few people stop by as well.

I know I had a goofy happy smile on the whole time, but hello, I was sitting by Sharon Shinn! It wouldn’t have mattered if people had been throwing fish at me. I’d have still been beaming. The fact that I had a few books to sign was just frosting on the cake.

It’s so awesome when your idols turn out to be every bit as amazing as you have imagined over the years. Today was pure win.

April Hot Read – The Duke of Shadows

If you read this book and want to talk about it, go here. I’m dying to discuss it without worrying about spoilers.

The Contest

Enter the Duke of Shadows Sweepstakes

Because I love this book so much, I want to tell the world about it. The best way I have to do that is a contest. Thus commences

The Duke of Shadows Sweepstakes.

Prize packages

  • Grand Prize: $25 gift card from Barnes and Noble
  • First prize: $15 gift certificate from Amazon (or online bookstore of your choice)
  • Runners up: Five more winners will receive a copy of The Duke of Shadows

Seven winners. Cool prizes. What do you have to do to get in on this?

Rules for entry for people with a blog:

  • Step 1: Make a new post on your blog, entitled “Enter The Duke of Shadows Sweepstakes”
  • Step 2: Post the graphic shown here, along with a link back to to this contest. If you aren’t sure how to add a picture to your blog, use TDoS Sweepstakes Code.
  • Step 3: Add something like “I entered, you should too!” Publish blog post.
  • Step 4: Leave your link in comments, letting me know you’re done.

For those who don’t have blogs, here’s what you do to enter:

  • Step 1: Promise in comments to put a review on some online review site, if you win.
  • Step 2: Tell at least one other person about the contest.

I hope everyone who enters will check out this book. It would be great if you told people about it, if you love it as much as I do. Winners also agree they’ll review the book somewhere as a condition of accepting their prize. This contest will run until midnight on April 13th. On the morning of April 14, I’ll announce the winners.

The Squee

After I finished this book, I immediately got on IM and sent messages to my friends, telling them I’d just glommed The Duke of Shadows. I begged them to get it at once, toss out their TBR list, and devour it immediately, and then said I would be greeting them for the next two weeks with “Did you read it yet?”

I don’t do story summaries. I don’t really do reviews, either. If you want the blurb, it’s on Powells. This is homage. This is me, struggling to express all the ways the book succeeds, no, soars. Take a woman, saturated with loss. Cast her to a man who has worn so many faces, he is no longer sure which is his true self. In many ways, Julian is a soul divided, and Ms. Duran portrays it with such grace and valor that I will always, always remember this hero, and his love for the complex, passionate Emmaline.

The Duke of Shadows was pitch-perfect, not a single wrong note. This book ravished me. The writing is lovely and luminous, bedizened with subtle poetry. It hit me like a fist in the chest, rousing a sudden, shocking ache. In reading this, you will be permeated with yearning. Some sentences are so lovely, they make you say, “Oh,” in quiet, helpless admiration. This book is pure beauty married to elegance and simplicity.

Let me show you. Even without context, these small excerpts will steal your breath.

She lay there, staring upward. Long crimson clouds stretched across the lavender sky, as though giant claws had laid open the innards of heaven.

Such imagery. Can you not imagine such a sky? This is India at twilight. Yes, this is a romance novel, but it is art, too, and one of the finest books I have ever read in my life.

His face lowered to hers, so close she felt his ragged exhalation against her lips. “Emma, you can trust me with your life. But I am not your brother. You cannot trust me in this.”

“I have no brother,” she said softly. “Nor mother, nor father, now. If I trust you with my life, I trust you with everything I have.”

My heart clenches. I say, “Oh.” Gone totally breathless. In one sentence, one achingly lovely sentence, she has given him permission to touch and revealed such heartbreaking vulnerability, I could weep.

He glanced back up to her face. “God, you are beautiful.”

She did not feel anything so boring as beautiful. She felt fierce.

This is masterful. The heroine is imbued with power during an intimate moment. She is strong; she is not a passive vessel.

She would say no prayer for him. She had tried them before. They did not work.

These short, stark sentences distill the essence of her despair. Here, Emma cannot muster the energy to embellish her thoughts. Julian has become her world, and he is leaving.

I could go on, but I think I will let you discover the rest yourself. I want to read The Duke of Shadows again, again, again. The characters were so well-drawn and compelling, and the plot smart and well-researched. And the emotional intensity…good God, it was gut-wrenching. I found myself in tears more than once, and that doesn’t happen often. This book is perfection, better, in fact, than any historical romance I’ve ever read. I am astonished to find a work of such proficiency and power in a debut author.

If Meredith Duran is not a superstar in ten years, taking her place amid such luminaries as Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase, then the world is mad. Read this book.

The Interview

The author was kind enough to consent to answer a few questions for the edification of readers, as part of my celebration of all things Meredith Duran. Enjoy!

Meredith Speaks
What’s your favorite scene in The Duke of Shadows?

As a reader, I think I’d pick the scene that transpires in the garden in London, shortly after Julian and Emma encounter one another again. But in terms of the actual writing of it, I’ll choose the scene at the Ardsmores’, which ends with Julian smashing the globe. I’d been struggling with what was going to happen there — I knew that they needed to confront the history they shared, and the mystery of what had happened to Emma, but my inspiration had evaporated. I sat in front of the screen for *several* hours, until I was ready to tear my hair out. Finally I gave up and got ready for bed. As I went to shut down the computer, I paused to type two lines that randomly came to me: “There was a giant globe, as big as a carriage wheel, standing near the desk. It was startling and unusual, and she recalled suddenly having heard of it: the Ardsmores’ famous globe.”

Stupid, I thought. A globe? Great. That did not help me move the scene forward AT ALL.

I lay down, closed my eyes, and suddenly — BOOM. Of COURSE there was a globe. The globe was CRUCIAL!! I jumped out of bed, turned the computer back on, and wrote the rest of the scene without pause.

In other words, I love that scene because it’s the product of one of those fantastical and exhilarating and ALL too rare moments when intuition takes over and a scene simply materializes. What a rush that is! I wish it happened every time I opened Word. 🙂

What was your inspiration for this fabulous book?

I think the first seed was probably planted a very long time ago — when I was in India in 1998. I was on a study abroad program, and we were living in a medieval fortress that towered over the city below. When the typical teenage melancholy struck, I would climb up onto the ramparts and sit between the cannons and watch the sun set. Much, much later, when I first visualized Emma, it was like this — on the edge of a rampart, looking out over an Indian city. Only… the city was on fire, and she had a knife in her hand. Since I’ve always been fascinated by the events of 1857, I knew instantly why the city was burning.

Ultimately I denied Emma the chance to stand on the ramparts, but I let her keep the knife. 🙂

You’ve worked in India. How did that enrich your ability to depict the setting in part one?

It definitely helped with “setting the scene.” For instance, the description of the fortress at Sapnagar is a composite of Mehrangarh Fort, Amber Fort, and the City Palace in Udaipur, all of which I’ve visited several times. But — and there’s always a but! — sometimes I did find myself troubled over some of the assumptions I was making. Deven’s a great name, but was it common in 1857? For that matter, did bazaars back then really smell like bazaars do now? I was very glad of my university library, which has a massive collection of books on (and memoirs about!) colonial India.

If you could write a book set in any historical time period / location, when and where would it be?

Well, I absolutely indulged myself with The Duke of Shadows — I think 1857 is one of the most interesting moments in history. But I’m also fascinated by Roman Britain, Tudor England, and World War II Europe. And, lest I forget, the 1880s and 1890s in Britain, where my next books are set. I chose the 1880s specifically because it was a period of such swift and dramatic change: the decline of landed wealth, the height of imperialism, the rise of the “new woman,” etc. It’s a great time period to be writing about. So many possible stories!

You’re shipwrecked on a desert island with another author. Who is it and why?

Laura Kinsale. I hear she has a new manuscript but no plans yet to publish it. Very well, she can read it aloud to me while I drink coconut milk!

What do you want to tell readers about you and/or your work?

Hmm. Well, 1) I’ve been reading omnivorously in the genre since I was thirteen, but my secret loves (aside from historicals, of course) are paranormal and futuristic romances. I attribute this to a childhood of Lois Duncan, Christopher Pike, and Star Trek. 2) My worst nightmare is to write a heroine who is Too Stupid to Live. 3) My heroes are Laura Kinsale, Judith Ivory, Loretta Chase, and Patricia Gaffney (“To Have and To Hold” actually launched my keeper shelf). 4) I get a little cranky when people knock the romance genre, because I think that, like any other genre, ours has produced some brilliant books along with the good reads, so-so reads, and occasional stinker. 5) I tend to make numbered lists for no reason. And finally, 6) I am thrilled to have made an appearance on Ann’s blog. Thanks so much for having me!

Meet my new imaginary boyfriend

Yet more Viggo He played Lucifer in The Prophecy movies, and he rocked. He embodied Aragorn in the Tolkien-inspired blockbusters. Viggo

But he didn’t win my devotion until last night when I saw him in Alatriste, speaking excellent Castilian. Today he sealed the deal in Eastern Promises. Be still my heart; he was freakin’ awesome. Oh, and the movie was good too.
More Viggo

So let me introduce you to my new imaginary boyfriend.

be still my heart, Viggo

The scary Viggo Those cheekbones, those eyes, that fierce mouth… he’s just amazingly versatile and he fairly radiates passion, leashed intensity, and raw charisma, and did I already say passion? Fetch my hartshorn, I’m fixin’ to succumb to the vapors!

Viggo,

if you’re interested in starring as March, I could throw out all my preconceived notions about what he looks like. We could talk about it over dinner…

*CALL ME.

*So not gonna happen. “Shattered dreams! Need clean up in Aisle 1.”