Cover Reveal: Rebecca Rynecki’s THE PRINCESS AND THE STABLEBOY


~ About the Author ~

A graduate of Hollins University in southwestern Virginia, Rebecca has put her ancient history degree to good use with the Alaina Downs trilogy, a New Adult/Fantasy series. At least that’s what she tells herself. When she’s not writing, she lives in the Litchfield hills of Connecticut with her husband and young son. She dances, and runs, and upon occasion…sings very badly.

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~ About the Book ~

Title: The Princess and the Stableboy
Author: Rebecca Rynecki
Published: Coming Fall 2013
Genre: NA Fantasy Romance
Content Warning: Some Sexual Content
Recommended Age: 17+

~ Synopsis ~

Once upon a time, before Alaina fell into Isleen…

There was a kingdom devoid of magic…

Until one day when Astra, the princess of Isleen is awoken by dragons flying by her window. She escapes with the help of Peter, a stableboy who is hiding a few secrets of his own.

The land is thrust into peril. The wizards Uther and Avalon have returned from their banishment by unknown forces, and they are determined to take over once more…even if it means turning most of the people into ogres.

Astra finds herself fighting for her home in an ages old fairy tale of good, evil…and love.

~ Excerpt ~

Astra nodded, and waved him off, turning her attention over to a small group of dancers. She tore off some more of the meat, and started to sway along with the soft music coming from the dulcimer. A light rain was beginning to fall, and she glanced up, opening her mouth slightly to take some of it in. Astra smiled, letting her eyes flutter momentarily across the night sky.

Peter turned around, the mugs of mead trembling in his hands. He watched her, his eyes roving over her body before they settled on her gently moving hips. His heart raced, and he panted, taking a sip of the mead before looking at her again. She had finished the turkey leg and was now standing on her tip toes, giggling as she let her tongue dart out to catch some of the rain.

They locked eyes, and she gave him a smile. Peter left the mead down on the table, and slowly walked over.

“You left the mead,” she murmured.

He exhaled. “You’re beautiful,” Peter blurted out.

Astra blushed. “Thank you.” She pointed up at the sky. “I think it’s starting to rain.”

“Is it?” he croaked. His eyes trailed down to her mouth. “I don’t think I noticed.” Peter let out a small groan as her tongue ran over her bottom lip. “Do you want to dance?”

“Oh.” Astra’s cheeks pinked once more as she nodded.

Peter wrapped his arm around her waist, drawing her closer to him as the pace of the music increased. He could feel her heart beat against his and he sighed. “Astra…”

Her eyes flicked up. “Hmmmm?”

He kissed her. Astra gasped, her mouth opening as she felt the heat of his tongue searching for hers. She shut her eyes, her knees quaking as she moaned. She could feel the rain pelt down on them, and she sighed.

Peter shook, and he panted, gently releasing her. He swallowed, his jaw line clenching as he settled his hands on her cheeks and searched her eyes. “Astra…”

“Peter…” Astra closed her eyes, and tried to steady her heartbeat as they rested their foreheads against each other. “Peter…”

Other Blogs Celebrating Rebecca Today!

Author Evolution: Confidence and Stronger Writing

Several times now I’ve gone back to look at my debut novel. Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my first title, my first self-published book, my first true attempt to really put my writing out there. And luckily, it’s been well-received by most readers (and even with the not-so-favored, I’ve learned a couple things from their reviews).

However, I often find mistakes. I wish I’d written a section differently, added or subtracted things or words from certain scenes, or whatever. You get the idea. Authors often talk about how they’re so glad that their first books weren’t picked up by traditional authors because when they look back on them now, it’s embarrassing. Obviously, I feel differently. I was (and am) so proud of Gifted, so eager to put it out into the world and not a day goes by that I’m not proud of this achievement. I just can’t see myself in ten years frowning at the decision. And I can’t wait to dive back into the second title and hang out with my characters, meet new people, and introduce the next villain. GiftedCover

I started writing Gifted when I was 23. Between life events and plucking up the courage to self-publish after I got tired of waiting to hear back from potential agents/publishers, I was 27 when Gifted became a real book outside of my computer. Because it was my first novel (and partly because I thought I was only writing for me before it took on its own life form), I hadn’t really found my writing style yet. I’m not a beautiful, prosey writer. I’m not quite as succinct as Hemingway, though many of my friends usually say that’s a good thing. I am painfully uncomfortable about situations where I have to say what I write. When I tell them the genre or plot, I’ve always braced myself for an eye roll or that “Are you kidding?” look. Take for instance the Roanoke writers conference – when a new friend said she’d love to read my book I had in my bag, I apologized as I handed it to her, telling her it was “nothing like the other authors here at this thing.” For a moment, I hesitated about my freshman, self-published fantasy book in the midst of serious non-fiction and the classics-loving reading groups.

Then I remembered that I have readers, too. I have people who want to read Gifted’s sequel and the few who’ve read Witch Hearts saying they liked it even more than Gifted. I feel confident now in a way I didn’t before Gifted. My second title, Witch Hearts, is due out this spring. It’s a very different book from Gifted. It’s an adult title, a paranormal thriller mystery with some romance (okay, an urban fantasy but my definition is more accurate). It dives into some spooky territory I didn’t know my mind could create. My villain is a worst nightmare, the details creepier than before, and the tension, I feel, racketed up more than Gifted ever achieved. My writing, it seems, has grown in my experience with writing for magazines (I have word counts!). It has grown in my reading lots of other books and trying lots of different authors in the genres I love. (I can afford this because I buy $0.99-$4.99 indie books on my Kindle/app, by the way. Just sayin’.)

It seems to me, my friends, that we as writers will grow more each time we write down new words. The upside to your writer’s growth, especially in a series (at least I hope), is that the books – with sharp writing and well-developed characters – will only get better. I love Gifted with all my heart, but I know several mistakes to avoid and styles I’ll roll with this time. Because I’m now (slightly) more comfortable thanks to experience, support, and Scrivener, I hope I continue to grow and make my writing better. I want each book to be better than the last and for my readers to love every new word.

I mean, someone out there reads paranormal mystery thrillers with romance and murder (not at the same time). You guys are probably here for a good reason, right?

Character Interview: Gabriel Knight

Today, we’ve got another character interview, this time with Donovan Circus member Gabriel Knight. Sarcastic, apathetic, and oh-so-hot, he does a terrific job of driving Lucy arms-on-fire crazy. I’ll admit sometimes Gabriel is an enigma even to me, but his wit, charm, personality, and good looks make him a great character to write. (Okay, maybe not his good looks. It’s just fun to imagine how pretty he is.)

For those of you who haven’t read Gifted yet, avert thy eyes if you plan to avoid ALL spoilers. Gabriel’s gift is a bit of a mystery for the first few chapters of the book, so if you don’t wanna know, just a warning. Though his gift is a surprise, it in no way gives away major plot details or spoilers.

Character: Gabriel Knight, main character
Role: Anti-hero, eventual love interest for Lucy
Age: 26
Gift: Empath

Q. Tell us about your Gift and your role around the circus grounds.
A. Jesus Christ, do I really have to do this? *looks around with a mixture of boredom and irritation*

Q. Would you rather Lucy give the interview?
A. *Grimaces, sighs and lights a cigarette* Oh, all right. I help around the grounds–usually working on machinery or moving animal cages. I’m an Empath, but I don’t really use it to its full advantage.

Q. What’s that mean exactly?
A. I’ve had some control issues in the past. Depending on strength and skill, Empaths can feel, control, and warp others’ emotions, as well as take them completely for their own, leaving the person more like a shell than a vibrant, emotional being. I do my best not to screw with people anymore.

Q. Gah, okay. How about some happier questions….What’s your favorite act in the show?
A. Hmmm…*grins* Lucy’s.

Q. She doesn’t have an act…
A. …Yet! She will in another few months and I promise she’ll astound. Even if she doesn’t believe it.

Q. Tell us one of the hardest things about being in a traveling circus.
A. I’m not exactly what one would call a team player and I’m a pretty private person, so the fact that there are always tons of people around drives me nuts. Plus, people gossip way too much.

Q. Anything about you we’d be surprised to know?
A. I’m great in bed. No, wait, you said something you’d be surprised to know. *grins* Actually, I’m a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan. “So it goes,” am I right?

Q. What do you do when you’re not preparing for a show?
A. More than likely trying to escape Lucy’s incessant questions and arguments. That girl could argue with a rock and probably win. She just kinda wears you down until you give in.

Q. And finally, who would play you in a movie?
A. That’s easy–that Alexander guy, he’s Swedish, right? I’m from the South but  he plays Eric on that True Blood show. We’re both blond, muscular, and very fun in the shower. Minus the fangs (because no one wants to be a vampire except vampires), of course, but he’s almost as good-looking as me.

Well…I may need to go fan myself off. Arrogant, rudely blunt, yet charming enough to practically “undo a chick’s bra with a wink” as Lucy says, Gabriel is a character I expect to stick around for a while. Happy Thursday friends!

Author Interview (Writers): Courtney Cole

Our Part 2 interview with Courtney Cole is geared towards aspiring writers, whether you wanna be indie or mainstream bestsellers. Hopefully we all take a little something out of these for our publishing plans!

If you want to read Part 1 with Courtney on her answers about Every Last Kiss in the Bloodstone Saga, check it out here. And as always, you can buy Courtney’s book on Amazon (because I’m not letting anyone have my copy. Nuh uh.)

What was your process for your book from creation to publication?
I started out by querying to agents for traditional publishers. I was actually in talks with a couple of agents, but they felt that the market was soon going to be over-run with mythology books and that there wouldn’t be a market for it. They wanted me to revise Every Last Kiss into a straight historical, which would have changed the outline that I had for the entire series. I didn’t want to do that.

So, a good friend, Wren Emerson, talked me into going indie with it. It’s the best decision that I ever made. In this particular situation, those agents were wrong. There’s still a market for mythological paranormal books. I have a big fanbase that loves them.

Would you recommend self-publishing to aspiring indie authors?
It really depends on the person. Do you have a business head? Can you multi-task? Can you market? Are you a self-motivator? Being an indie is NOT EASY. You might think that because you get to skip the querying process that it is, but it isn’t. While all of the control rests within you, all of the control rests within you. You have to make the hard decisions and hope that they are the right ones… pricepoint, cover art, editing, distribution, sales channels… if you don’t have a business head or have a business advisor, it would be easy to fail.

How the hell do you balance everything? Family, friends, everyday activities, work, AND a book? Spill the secret, Wonder Woman.
It’s no secret. I’m insane. The entire juggling process has turned me into a laughing-like-a-hyena- crazy-woman. Seriously, the secret to multi-tasking is being organized. I have lists, I set reminders for myself both in Outlook and on my phone. I keep my calendar (with due dates) up to date. Or else I would be total FAIL.

You’ve said it took you about 5 months to write this book, but a lot of that was research. How many hours would you guess went into it? What was your process (internet, library, previous term papers, etc.)?
Five months give or take. I was so infatuated with the story and Cleopatra herself that I just immersed myself in writing. I can’t even tell you how much research I did for Every Last Kiss. So. Much. Research. Luckily, I like research, particularly on topics that interest me. I really wanted to know as much as I could about ancient Egyptian culture so that I could nail it when I described Cleopatra’s palace. Because no one really knows what her palace really looked like. The ruins were found deep beneath the sea in the harbor off of Alexandria in 2010. But obviously there are no pictures from when it was still intact and on land. So, it was really fun to open up my imagination and picture what it was like.

Tell us about your gorgeous book cover—the process, how much input you had, how you went about deciding that was JUST right?
I had a vision in my head—and my cover artist brought it to life—it turned out even better than my vision. I knew it was just right when she sent me the final version and I opened it up- and it was so beautiful that I couldn’t breathe for a second. It was just amazing- to see that beautiful thing and to see my NAME on that beautiful thing. It was a really great moment.

What are the next big plans for you in regards to your writing?
I loved writing mythology so much that I am writing a spin-off series to the Bloodstone Saga called The Moonstone Saga. I’m in the middle of the second book now. I haven’t decided yet if there will be three books or four. And I have a list of ideas for future projects so I won’t be lacking for projects any time soon. If only I had eight hands instead of two. I’d be a lot more productive….

Thanks for having me on your blog, Liz. You’re just hilarious. I heart you. (Blogger’s Note: I LOOOOOVE Courtney Cole–her books, her personality, her patience to deal with my enthusiasm/stalkerism. I heart YOU!)

Thank you so much for answering all my questions from both interviews, Courtney! You’re pretty much the best!