Every year on Halloween, the god of the Mayan underworld holds a demonic ball. Many attend; not everyone survives…
So begins my novella Blood Stitches–a story about magical knitting, fantastical creatures, sacrifice, and forgiveness–and to celebrate Halloween-when the story unfolds–the gang from Blood Stitches is going on a week-long tour, complete with spooky stories and prizes.
Scroll down to view the complete tour schedule, and I hope to see you during one of the stops–be sure to enter the giveaway (see below).
Reviews for Blood Stitches
“What a charming and delightful knitting fiction book… This book is refreshingly different in so many ways… The characters are interesting, with believable dialogue and and interesting plot. Great entertainment read. ” Read the rest here.
“Both technically and thematically, this short work was refreshing…. The main setting of the story was fun, as the characters travel to a fantastical underground… The plot was solid, the characters were interesting and quirky, and I really enjoyed the premise of magical knitting.” Read the rest here.
Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn . . .
For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.
These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…
Gripping the chair arms to keep herself seated, Lillian fought an urge to leave and never set foot inside Castle Brendaligh again.
It had been a demoralizing battle and they had lost, but they had lived. They had done all they could, but still the demon master had ascended into man’s world.
“You failed and we are all likely to die because of it. I hold every person at this table responsible for the state of England. You have ruined us.” Lord Clayton’s voice grated on Lillian’s nerves.
Accounts of the battle were clear. Nearly everyone in the room had risked their lives trying to disrupt the ascension, not to mention keep the earl’s daughter, Belinda, from becoming a demon sacrifice. Making such a show of ferocious reprimands insulted their brave and selfless efforts. If not for the fact that he was her best friend’s father, she might have indulged her desire to pull a sai blade from her boot and slice his throat.
As if Lord Clayton, the Earl of Shafton, needed to attract more attention, he waved his hands. “You had one mission, to keep the master from entering our world. All you had to do was kill one demon, but you failed. You should all be shot for treason. Treason!”
His bright red face gave her hope his heart might fail and save her the trouble of killing him.
Other hunters at the table murmured, but no one spoke out.
“Everyone in this room is to blame. You had the perfect opportunity to end this mess. Now the master is free of his realm and living in ours. It’s only a matter of time before he is strong enough to destroy everything we hold dear. When your families are killed mercilessly, will you sit here so unrepentant about failing in your duty?”
“Father, really.” Belinda Thurston rolled her eyes.
Lillian missed Reece’s steadying presence. Reece might have even been able to stop his lordship’s tirade with a few quick-witted remarks. Her partner had nearly died, and now lay upstairs recovering from demon poisoning.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Belinda. You are equally to blame. You were with the master for days and made no attempt to destroy him.”
Gabriel, Belinda’s husband, bristled. It was of course a ridiculous statement. The Earl of Tullering was not used to public abuse of his family. “Just a minute, my lord. You are out of order. Belinda was in no position to defeat the demon master. The information she gathered will be very helpful in our eventual victory.”
Shafton pointed a fat finger. “I do not want to hear about information that will take years to decipher. You, Tullering, are by far the most culpable. You and that woman”—he pointed at Lillian—“made a conscious choice not to destroy the master.”
Lillian reached toward her boot and let the hard steel of her sai blade handle bring her comfort. One second and Shafton’s head could be rolling down the long table and land in Drake Cullum’s lap.
Besides Shafton, Drake and his assistant, Dorian Lambert, were the only ones present who had not been at the battle. Their leader, Drake, had attended to assign new orders to the hunters.
Shafton said, “You could have destroyed the beast as it rose and was weakened. I know you had the opportunity, but you chose to save yourself. It was selfish and stupid.”
Lillian could kill him and no one would be able to stop her. Of course, there were always consequences when dealing with men in power. She’d lose her home within The Company. Yet another arrogant earl would not take her from her rightful place. She was in control. It was nothing like her youth and the titled man who’d ruined her life.
Belinda said, “They saved my life, Father.”
“It was the wrong choice, Belinda. You might have cost us our one chance to stop this.” Shafton narrowed his eyes on Lillian.
Lillian said, “I can imagine your pleasure if we had allowed your only child to become the master’s sacrifice. Perhaps we should have stood by and watched until the master, with his full power rose, from the depths of hell and destroyed us all. As it is, Reece Foxjohn is still recovering from battle and the rest of us might have been sucked into the demon’s realm. But by all means, my lord, go on and tell us how you know we willfully failed on our mission. I do not recall your life being in danger that day at Fatum Manor. You were safely tucked away in your castle while the rest of us faced death or worse.”
“You are out of order, Dellacourt.” Shafton said her name as if it were a curse.
Lillian wasn’t sure when she had stood up, but clutching the leather wrapped steel, she rounded the table toward the earl. “If you have something you want to say about my abilities, my lord, I suggest you do so. I will be happy to display them for you, and we can evaluate them together.”
“Miss Dellacourt.” A warning came from the other end of the table.
“You were not there. You cannot know if we could have destroyed the master. As far as I’m concerned, we made the only choice possible under the circumstances. Maybe if your intelligence had supplied us with the location of the gateway before the master had grown so powerful, we might have been able to seal him in.”
“How dare you imply that I failed in some way? You who completely disregard orders at will.”
She had only ever hated one man the way she despised Shafton, and he too was an earl. At least that one was dead. Steeling her nerves, she slid the sai blade through the pocket cut in her skirt. “You speak of orders that were selfish and almost succeeded in getting your own family killed.”
“You have no right to question me or my motives.” To his credit, he faced her and stared her in the eye.
“I have every right when you point your fat finger at me.”
“Who do you think you are? I know where you come from Lillian Dellacourt. I know what you are.”
Drake Cullum pounded the table. “Shafton, that will do.” The demon hunters’ leader stood rigid, narrow-eyed. He was formidable when he was calm, but enraging him was never a good idea. He was furious now.
Had she gone too far? The idea she might have overstepped her bounds with Cullum was enough to make her relax the grip on her blade. Lillian turned and stormed from the dining room.
Shafton yelled something about not having dismissed her from the meeting.
Once in the hallway, she pulled her second blade and turned to go back in and finish what she’d started. It would be nothing to remove his pompous head from his shoulders.
Cullum stood in the doorway. He smiled at her and closed the door, baring her reentry.
Had she ever seen him smile before? No instance came to mind. She stomped toward the front entrance. She’d leave the damn castle, get her carriage, and ride like the devil back to London. Yet the one person in the world she could really talk to was a resident of Brendaligh. Holding her full skirts with both hands, she sprinted up the curved grand staircase.
About the Author
A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.
A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.
Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Demon Hunters series, the Psychic Mates series, and more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be brining you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.
Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden. Her babies are both rescues and include a demanding dog and a temperamental cat both of which bring constant joy and laughter.
The crew from my novella Blood Stitches and I are back from our tour across the webosphere. Esperanza is knitting in her room (no surprise!), Frank and Gabby are flirting in the living room, and Tory and Mr. C are bickering over who gets to make breakfast.
And I’m about to tiptoe away, leaving them to their own devices… at least for a while or maybe forever. After all, we’ve been together for quite some time, years, to be perfectly honest, and it’s time to stop smothering them, give them some breathing space.
It’s been long journey, but well worth it from creation to editing (under the tutelage of the insightful Penny Barber) to publication (an enormous thank you to Renee Rocco and everyone at Kensington/Lyrical) to promotion, which couldn’t have been done without the help of Michelle Forde and numerous selfless bloggers and authors. Of course, it’s not over yet—promotion never really stops–and I hope Blood Stitches finds its way into endless homes, entertaining many with its story of magical knitting.
For now, though, summer is calling with books to read, rivers to paddle, and trails snaking into the mountains to hike and bike. I can already feel sun warming my skin, see damselflies flitting across shadowy waves, hear the call of loons, and see ferns bristling like dragon tails over hilly woods.
More stories and essays will come, they always do, filling my mind with new characters and settings, pushing their way out through my fingertips. Until then, though, I surrender to the change of the seasons and the wonder of the world, looking forward to closing my laptop for a while and simply observing.
I decided that as palmistry was the initial inspiration for this fantasy romance, I’d offer readers a little something on palmistry marks. The image below shows you the main lines that can be found on a person’s palm.
1: Life line – 2: Head line – 3: Heart line – 4: Girdle of Venus – 5: Sun line – 6: Mercury line – 7: Fate line
These main lines above are fairly well known, but the lesser lines are not quite so well understood and it was these I was studying when I got the idea for Marked for Magic.
There is a mark some people have on their hand, a curved line at the base of their forefinger, the Jupiter finger. This unusual mark is called the ring of Solomon. People who have this rare marking are usually intelligent, philosophical, and tolerant.
Did if you find this mark on your hand?
The witch mark on Nin’s hand is a curse. She has no magic powers, whatever the lore says. But the village believes. The old crone’s wisdom is to see her banished. Ragged and hungry, she must serve the Mage. Alone in his tower, she is his chattel. But Mage Thabit is not what Nin expected—the bright green eyes and supple form under his cloak are not the stuff of nightmares, and kindness hides in his brusque heart. Thabit senses that Nin is more than she seems, too. When true nightmares haunt the land, it is precisely her elusive powers that might deliver them…
By early evening, she’d only found twelve small seeing mushrooms. They rolled around in the bottom of the collecting basket. Her feet ached, for in her search she’d walked farther and farther into the darkened shadowy spaces. Worse than sore feet, though, she stared to find her way through the trees until her eyes burned and stung. She had no clue how to get back to the tower. She recognized nothing here through the welter of close-knit leaves.
Maybe he wanted the wolves to eat her. She’d be a nuisance to no one then. How could he be so mean?
She huddled down at the base of a large ash tree where she ran her fingers over a blade of grass so it squeaked. How would she find his tower before dark? Her empty stomach rumbled.
Anger that he’d sent her out here evaporated with the need to find him again. There was no one else who could help her. The twilight shadows grew deeper, wrapping the woods in their embrace. Tiredness blurred her vision. Even if she hadn’t been lost, she’d have been afraid to go back without all the mushrooms he wanted.
The sun sank lower. The first white stars shone in the deepening night-shaded sky. She curled up, wrapped her arms around the basket, and waited for death.
By moonrise, still the wolves hadn’t come, but her fear continued to grow. Her breath shallow, she darted her glance to the trees, to the dark shadows between them, and back again.
If only he would come to find her, she would do anything, she’d be so grateful. A leaf brushed her cheek, so she looked up as she moved it away. If she climbed the ash tree, perhaps light from the tower might lead her back.
Hope warmed her. She swung up onto the lowest branch of the tall tree, gave the next bough a tug to make sure it would take her weight, then clambered up where she clung tight.
The morsel of hope grew as she searched in all directions, but it withered when she saw only more branches and leaves. She grasped the next branch above.
“What, may I ask, are you doing?”
Relief slid over her. Though he didn’t sound pleased, the Mage had come to find her. She swung down onto the first branch, but caught her lip at his frown. He reached up to yank her down into his arms.
“If I discover you have done this to plague me”—his nose loomed tip-to-tip with hers—“I will renege on my promise, and I will beat you soundly before I turn you into a sparrow.”
The sensation and safety of his arms took the spleen from his words. She didn’t care if he might beat her, as long as he took her back to the tower. “I got lost.”
“Hmm, did you? And my mushrooms?” He still held her. His mouth twitched in a half smile.
“I got some. They’re in the basket.”
To her surprise, he didn’t put her down, but strolled over, bent with her in his arms, picked the basket up, and hooked it onto his elbow. His brow wrinkled in obvious displeasure as the little mushrooms rolled around. She closed her eyes, praying they would double or treble in number. Sadly, they didn’t. She hoped he’d not beat her hard.
About the author
Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy romance in the historical, paranormal and fantasy genres. She is an obsessive writer and her focus is to offer the best tale she can to readers. Daisy is married with two grown up sons. She lives in a converted chapel in Shropshire, England. Antiques and collecting entertain Daisy when she isn’t writing and she occasionally makes a meal that doesn’t stick to the pan.
We’re taking a steamy stroll today to the world of erotic fiction with a visit from author April Vine who shares her new book, Reclaimed By Her Master, and discusses her writing, as well as inventing the best superpower ever.
1) Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
From my parents. They read voraciously and I grew up in a house with tons of books and encyclopedias which became an innate part of the furniture everywhere I looked.
2) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I always wanted to write, maybe from the time I started reading on my own. But it was only when I secretly picked up one of my Mom’s Barbara Cartland books in my teens that I took an interest in romance and actually wanted to write it too. Suffice to say I’ve come a long way from Dame Cartland’s style of romance.
Fun and a little goofy
3) If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to turn everything into chocolate and it should go without saying the power to eat everything I turn into chocolate without any threat to my hips.
4) Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Space – that would be awesome.
No one breaches the defenses of billionaire Dom Stephen Black—until Aria Swift does just that, stealing a priceless painting from his collection—along with his heart. But two can play that game, and soon a treasured necklace that belonged to Aria’s late mother ends up in Stephen’s skilled, waiting hands—along with a dare to retrieve it…
Eight years later, Aria is ready to put closure on her infamous past by meeting Stephen’s challenge. And suddenly, she’s caught in his trap…
There’s only one way to master a woman like Aria—and only one place to do it. Stephen’s luxuriously decadent Gold Room is where he’ll mete out her punishment, stroke by excruciatingly ecstatic stroke. Where Aria will submit to his every desire—and find in his touch, in his control, a frenzied yearning, and the ultimate pleasure of surrender…
The path to publication rolls through hilly terrain, sometimes bright and sunny, but usually, at least for me, filled with shadowy fingerposts. You see, I have to be just about the slowest writer on earth, easily distracted by books to read, trails to bike, and rivers to paddle.
But one thing on this journey has been a constant: the generosity of my fellow writers and bloggers–always willing to help with constructive criticism, literary tips, or a promotional shout-out.
And now I can add my talented and generous brother-in-law Kevin Radwanski to that list. The following book trailer is his creation, and I think it perfectly captures the spirit of my novella, Blood Stitches:
I am also forever in debt to the following bloggers for giving the book trailer a boost this week: