Saturday, April 28, 2012

Take a deep breath

Don't miss the giveaway below--it's a good one! International, ends May 4th.

Deliverance, the third book in my Mortal Path series, was released almost exactly a month ago. It's been a whirlwind month of blog appearances and reviews that netted me some great quotes!

While I'm catching my breath before plunging into the next project, I'd like to share some of them with you.

Smitten by Bad Boy Heroes

"Deliverance is another great adventure in Maliha’s quest for redemption. In my opinion, Ms. Banks has created a second to none but far from perfect heroine in Maliha and she really makes us care about her and her friends. This novel and the series in general are skillfully woven with mythology, intriguing plots and skillful characterization. This series is now one of my favorites, and I found Deliverance to be the best novel in the series so far. I’m anxiously waiting and desperate for the next one to come out! Absolutely loved it!"

 Bookaholics Book Club

"Dakota Banks has delivered an incredible read that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Deliverance is sizzling hot and full of the trademark action that accompanies this fantastic series. I absolutely loved this book! The plot is outstanding as usual, full of twists and turns and incredible revelations. FANTASTIC. There aren't many books that keep me guessing until the end but I have to admit the last few pages of Deliverance gave me quite the thrill. This series is definitely one of my favourites of all time and I cannot wait for the next book!!! All I can say is: Wow. Incredible. Love it! Buy it! And if you haven 't read this series...WHY?!?! ;)"

Tynga's Reviews

"Deliverance is filled with action, suspense, raw honesty, and great drama. It's definitely the most high-stakes installment in the series yet and I couldn't put it down. Dakota has done a marvelous job of creating an untenable situation and forcing Maliha to deal with it. I'm sure you all know how much I love characters who suffer at their creator's hands and Maliha does a lot of suffering, in addition to some serious butt-kicking. There's so much good stuff in Deliverance it's hard for me to say what I liked best about it. If forced, though, I think I'd say it's  that we get to see how much Maliha's relationships mean to her. Deliverance is a satisfying slice of urban fantasy, sure to please fans of the genre. I strongly encourage you to check out this book and series!"

Book Lovers Inc.

"Deliverance offers readers a pulse-pounding start. Mahila faces choices, decisions will have to be made, and it all depends on how much she’s willing to sacrifice and for whom. She has a code in her life, one she’s bound to if she going to buy back her soul, if she’s going to right the centuries of the past. But she also has another code, one she holds sacred, and that’s for the tight knit group of friends. Dakota Banks writes a series where action pours from the pages, from one heart-pounding event to another, full of action, suspense, and mystery. A strong story of lifetimes bound together, where friendship means more, where love is shared. The Mortal Path series is urban fantasy at its best and Deliverance lives up to it’s name, it delivers. Highly recommended for Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance lovers alike."

Now for the giveaway! I've been having fun with a tote bag I had made, which I stuff with the 3 signed books of the Mortal Path series, bookmarks, pens, magnets, and a calculator. Because I love Supernatural Underground readers so much ~♥~ I'm adding a $25 Amazon gift certificate to the rest of the loot. Here's a picture. And on the right is a picture of what was going on while the picture was being taken.

This giveaway is International. Ends Friday, May 4, at midnight EST. The winner will be notified on May 5th. You must use the form below to enter to get credit for your entries. 

p.s. I'd like to call your attention to another post by a Supe author if you haven't already seen it. Please check out Helen Lowe's news and giveaway.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Love Doctor is in the House

Congratulations to Melissa of Tennessee!  She has won Phineas' poster and book. Many thanks for all the great comments. Please come back May 25th for my next blog and giveaway!

Since Phineas' book released a month ago, it's been a wild and crazy!  I was fortunate to go on three trips in that time, and I met fantastic readers in Charlottesville, VA; Dayton and Cincinnati, OH; Lexington, KY, and Chicago, IL. The great folks at Katy Budget Books hosted a launch party for Wanted: Undead or Alive, along with three bottles of Blardonnay and a cake with Phineas' cover on it!  I can report that his belt buckle was very yummy!

Many thanks to you all for showing your love to the Love Doctor!  Wanted: Undead or Alive debuted at number eleven on the New York Times mass-market print list and has survived three weeks there!  It also enjoyed two weeks on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Without a doubt, the Love at Stake readers are the best!

To show my appreciation, today's prize will be a signed copy of Wanted: Undead or Alive plus a small poster that I used at C2E2, the ComicCon in Chicago.  It measures about 11 x 7 inches (27 x 17 cm), and I'll sign it to you. This is a picture of it to the right. International entries are welcome.  Winner chosen completely at random in imitation of my mental processes. Good luck and many thanks to you all!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Discovering new monsters

Let it be said that I love vampires, weres, shifters, fairies, angels, and all the usual creatures of the night.

Manticore, Der Naturen Bloeme manuscript
c. 1350, National Library of the Netherlands
Having said that, I learnt of a new creature while doing a copyediting job during the week and it made me realise how easy it can be to continue to put on the familiar, the comforting, and not to go outside and find new monsters to delight and enthrall.

This author had used a creature called a manticore. Here's the definition from "THE MANTIKHORAS (or Manticore) was a fabulous man-eating Persian monster with the body of a lion, the face of a man, and a spike-tipped arrow-shooting tail. The name "Manticore" was reputedly derived from a Persian word meaning "man-eater."

This author turned that beast into something more in keeping with our urban fantasy/paranormal sensibilities - the mantikhoras (as he wrote) walked the world as a beautiful woman but would turn into this beast to kill when provoked.

It was all very, very cool.

I do not doubt there are other great monsters out there to enthrall and terrify us. Please, share with me your favourites!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview with Malian, Heir to the House of Night

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special treat - an interview with Malian, the Heir to the House of Night herself, and a four book giveaway from myself and Helen Lowe. Enjoy, and post a comment to be in the draw.  

The winners have been drawn! They are:  

The Heir of Night and Path of the Stray to Cher!

Congratulations and thank you all for joining in. Cher and Alainala, can you please contact me at enchantment at kimfalconer dot com to organize delivery?  Thank you! 

Kim: Hello Malian. *small bow* Thank you for coming to chat with us at the Supernatural Underground. First up, to clarify, you are Heir to House of Night in the Derai Alliance. Can you tell us briefly what that means? Why an alliance and what is the Wall? 

Malian: [inclines her head in the Heir of Night's acknowledgment of an equal] Thank you, Kim. It is an honor to be a guest of the Supernatural Underground; I have heard so much that is good about it through my chronicler, Helen Lowe.

“Heir” is a formal title, like crown princess or crown prince in your world, except that the rulership inherited is not that of a “kingdom” but an “earldom” or alternately “House”—think “clan” in your language. And “Earl” or “Count” are translations of words in your world that once meant “elite warrior” or “war leader.” So the earldom of Night is one of the nine Houses of the Derai Alliance—an ancient confederation formed to combat the Swarm of Dark (or Darkswarm) an entity intent on destroying the fabric of our universe and all life that depends on it for survival. Night is also the traditional leader of the nine Houses, which means that as Heir I stand to inherit the leadership of both the earldom and the Derai Alliance.

My father, the current Earl of Night, has described the Der
ai as a people under arms because in battle after battle down the ages, in victory and defeat we have fought to keep the Darkswarm at bay. Now, on this world of Haarth, we garrison the mountain range known as the Wall of Night, which was created on our arrival here to keep the Swarm ay bay.

Kim: I understand you haven’t seen your father the Earl or been back to your home since you were thirteen. Five years? That was a young age to be on the run. Can you tell us what has sustained you?

Malian: Thirteen seems young in your world as it is now, I know, but our Derai society is more like your world five hundred years ago, when a thirteen year old was the equivalent of today’s sixteen or seventeen year olds in social terms. Shakespeare’s Juliet, after all, is just fourteen—a woman grown by the standards of the day.

Also, I was trained to the leadership of Night from birth, both in the warrior skills as well as in languages, politics, philosophy and Derai law—not unlike Queen Elizabeth I of England who was reputedly fluent in several languages by the age of six. Having said that, leaving the Keep of Winds and House of Night, the only home and family I had ever known, was very difficult—but I had always longed to see the wider world so partly I also wanted the adventure.

As you know, Kim, I left under extreme circumstances. I was fleeing my Darkswarm enemies but also my father’s decision to exile me because of the manifestation of my old Derai powers—powers I need to survive but which have become anathema in the warrior caste to which I belong. I had also just found that my mother, whom I thought dead, had been exiled for the same reason—and might even have gone over the Swarm. And that my grandfather had tried to murder both of us when I was still a baby—what you, in your world would call a dysfunctional family!

To add to that, I lost all but one of my sworn companions in that flight… [Malian’s voice trails off, her expression masklike, before she finally sighs.] But these are old sorrows and it does no good to speak of them.

In terms of what has sustained me through five years of hiding from my enemies—mainly it has been my sense of duty as Heir of Night. If the Derai Alliance is to survive, let alone defeat the Swarm, then I must both live and hone my powers.

Kim: You mentioned dreams in our last conversation. Can you tell us a bit more about that? When did you discover the Gate of Dreams? Can you go there at will?

Malian: Dream magic is closely associated with the old powers of the Derai—a power that for the first time in all our long history we have encountered amongst the peoples of Haarth as well. The so-called Gate of Dreams”is a portal into an alternate reality that parallels what we call the “daylight” or waking world. Most people, like the heralds Tarathan of Ar and Jehane Mor, can only access this alternate realm through entering a trancelike state or through their dreams, hence the name “Gate of Dreams.”

Both Kalan and I are among the very few who can pass the Gate in our physical bodies and also take others through with us. This saved our lives in the surprise attack on the Old Keep, five years ago. We also encountered some powerful allies in that alternate realm, including the dead Derai hero, Yorindesarinen, and the Huntmaster with his wild Hunt of Mayanne.

Kim: The divisions between the Derai and the rest of Haarth interest me. Am I correct in assuming you are not native to this land?

Malian: Yes, we came from the stars, opening a great portal in the fabric of the universe to reach this world. As I said, we have been fighting the Swarm for aeons and during those long ages have used other worlds as the basis for our operations as well. But Haarth is the first world where the indigenous inhabitants appear to have magical powers of their own. 

Kim: What about Kalan? The Winter Land Shaman foretold of your separate paths. Though you promised each other you wouldn’t change, after five years, is that a promise you can keep?

Malian: Kalan is the only friend of my own age I ever had on the Derai Wall. Neither of us wants to lose that friendship—that is why we pledged never to change to each other. But now we are older and know we have to live in the real world. We are also caught up in a life and death struggle. Sometimes, in such a world, adult responsibilities and duties to House and Keep, as well as to the Derai Alliance, can erode or even override personal loyalties. I know this from my father’s example, his willingness to sacrifice first his wife and then his daughter to his duty as Earl of Night and leader of the Derai Alliance.

Kim: But what about the heart? Do your feelings for Kalan . . . run deeper?

Malian: Friendship can also be of the heart and sometimes more enduringly so than romantic love. Both great friendships and the Emerian tradition of “springtime” or romantic love are part of my story, but beyond that—well, a great lady of the Derai may kiss, but she does not kiss and tell.

Kim: Finally, can you tell us who are the Lost? Do you still feel your duty is to Night and the Derai Alliance?

Malian: It was Kalan who first told me about the Lost, those Derai with the old powers who have fled the Wall—as we did—to live in hiding amongst the peoples of Haarth. In order to have any hope of defeating the Swarm, I need to find them and recruit them to my cause. I also need to find the magical weapons of the dead hero, Yorindesarinen. So far I have only found her helmet, but I must have the sword and the shield as well—otherwise I fear that Night may truly fall everywhere. As Heir of Night I remain committed to my duty and to the Derai cause, but I have also sworn an oath to try and save the wider Haarth world as well—if I can. And if I can, I will.

Kim: Thank you, Malian! It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to talk with you.

Malian: [inclines her head again] I thank you, Kim, for the invitation to speak with you here on the Supernatural Underground and share something of my hero’s journey and the darkness of the Derai.

Kim: I believe Malian will be within reach for a while so if you have any questions for her, post them in the comments and perhaps she, or her scribe, Helen Lowe, can answer. Everyone who comments will be in the draw to win one of two book packages 1) Helen Lowe’s The Heir of Night and my Path of the Stray 2) Helen Lowe's The Gathering of the Lost and my Road to the Soul.

About the Interviewer: Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption.

You can find out more about her at or her blog The 11th House. She posts here on the 16th of every month.
About the Author: Helen Lowe, official chronicler for Malian of Night, is a novelist, poet, and interviewer, and the current writer-in-residence at the University of Canterbury. She has received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for achievement in SFF for Thornspell (Knopf) in 2009, and The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) in 2011. She posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog and on the 1st of every month on the Supernatural Underground. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shadow of the Mark

I'm just popping in to tell you all about the second book in The Carrier Series! The title was just announced last week. It's called...

Shadow of the Mark

Life for Megan Rosenberg just got a lot more complicated.

While she evoked the air element, and her feelings for Adam intensified, a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal was spun around her.  With the Order tightening its hold, and the reinstatement of the Mark Knights, Megan has more questions than answers as the Marked Ones grow in strength. 

New people arouse suspicion, the DeRises start behaving strangely, and Megan begins to unravel a destiny shrouded in mystery.  It’s a destiny the Order has struggled to hide, and a destiny someone from the past… far in the past, has already laid claim to.

Alliances will be made, and friends will be lost, as the Order’s dark secrets are revealed by the very thing they sought to destroy.

Shadow of the Mark will be released in early 2013. Until then, if you haven't checked out Carrier of the Mark, you should totally do that. 

Thanks, good luck, and Happy Holidays. 


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bound To Me: Top 10 Countdown

The countdown continues to tick away until the release of my “final” Dark Days story.  I say “final” because I had planned for Burn the Night: The Sixth Dark Days Novel to be the final story, but then some lovely readers of the series teased me with an idea I had long ago regarding my beloved Mira.  As a result, I wrote another novella about the hot-tempered Fire Starter and while I have no plans to write more, I’ve learned not to say “final.”

So, as the last couple of days trickle away, let me provide you with a countdown of the top 10 reasons (in no particular order) you need to pick up Bound To Me on Tuesday, April 10.

10.) A great introduction to the series:  You’ve never read the Dark Days series, but you happen to like urban fantasy, paranormal romance, or just love vampires.  Bound To Me is a great starting place.  Set roughly 200 years before the first book, Nightwalker, this novella introduces readers to the main character, Mira, and many other characters that appear in the series, while taking you on a wild adventure through London, Spain, and Venice.

9.) You’ve finished reading the series but need MORE Mira!: The last book in the Dark Days series was released last summer and you’ve been going through Mira withdraw.  I know what it’s like.  You find yourself wishing you could wave your hand and light some candles, you’re now planning a trip to Venice, or you simply wonder what Danaus would think about the state of vampires in books.  Mira was a lot of fun, but you are longing to know a little about her past.  I mean, she was nearly 600 years old when the series started. What was she up to before we met her in Nightwalker?  Bound To Me will help answer your questions and get your through your withdraw.

8.) It’s only a short story: Maybe you’re not ready for the commitment that a full-length novel requires. I understand.  Some days I just want a little taste rather than a complete dinner.  The story comes in at 94 pages in the print version, so that could just be one afternoon of reading.

7.) It’s only $0.99 for the e-book and $2.99 for the print edition.  Afraid of breaking the bank?  Carefully watching your wallet?  Trust me, I know the danger of ordering new books.  Once you get started, you find yourself clicking on more and more, until the pile in your cart is threatening to steal away your grocery budget.  Don’t worry! This adorable little novella only costs $0.99 as an e-book and if you prefer print, it is less than $3.  Treat yourself to a few hours of pleasure for only a dollar.  You’re worth it!

6.)  Valerio: Bound To Me give you a heavy dose of the ultra-sexy vampire Valerio.  A great supporting character throughout the series, Valerio has never had much time to shine – Until Now!  Valerio has always been extremely secretive about his age, but Mira knows that he is quite old and powerful.  However, he prefers to hang back and simply fill his life with amusements rather than try to control other nightwalkers like many his age.  His one weakness has always been Mira.  Bound To Me gives you a closer look at the relationship that ended centuries ago, but still has Mira wearing his ring despite her feelings for Danaus.

5.) Mira and Valerio are HOT together: And I’m not talking about Mira lighting a couple candles when she walks into a room because she’s the Fire Starter.  No, I’m talking bedroom hot.  Hot enough to melt my computer and blush when I think about my parents reading this story HOT.  They might not be the most emotionally healthy couple, but … wow … they know how to have fun. 

4.) Mira: Or maybe I should just say, the Fire Starter.  Not only is she a powerful centuries old vampire, but she can light stuff off fire whenever she wants.  Who doesn’t want that power?  Honestly! Bound To Me is a chance to get to know this hot-tempered, playful nightwalker before she runs off to the New World to set up her own domain and become a “grown-up”.  It’s a chance to see Mira before Danaus steps into her life and turns it upside down.  It’s a chance to see some of the dark past that she doesn’t remember too well because of you know who.

3.) Because you requested this story:  Readers asked and I listened!  Yes, a little over a year ago, I held a little gathering of readers.  We sat around and I answered all the burning questions you had regarding the series, Mira, Danaus, and all the other characters.  One thing that was almost unanimously requested was a look at Mira’s relationship with Valerio.  In roughly a year, my publisher and I are responding to your request with the novella Bound To Me.

2.) Glimpse of new series: With the Dark Days drawing to a close, it was time for me to direct my attention to other worlds and characters.  Later this year, the first book in The Asylum Tales series will be hitting shelves and e-readers.  Angel’sInk is entirely new world and new cast of characters.  As a treat, my publisher has included the first two chapters of Angel’s Ink in copies of Bound To Me.  Read the first two chapters of the book before it is released in October

1.)    Because this really is the last Dark Days story: As I look at my writing schedule for the next year, I find that a new story featuring the characters of the Dark Days series is not on my list.  Bound To Me is the last story that I will ever write with Mira as the main character.  I also have no plans to write a story with Danaus as the main character.  While I love the Dark Days world, I feel that it is time to move on.  I’ve left the characters in a good place at the end of Burn the Night and I’m ready to move on to new chaos with my Asylum friends.  Help me say good-bye to Mira and the gang by picking up a copy of Bound To Me.

Reading order for the Dark Days series:

Bound to Me (novella)
The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten (novella)
Pray for Dawn
Wait for Dusk
Burn the Night

Also, thanks to everyone who has supported me and the Dark Days series over the years.  Mira, Danaus, and I have had many great adventures and we are filled with so many fond memories.  They are all because of you!

April 2012 News


April 10, 2012

Mira, the heroine of Jocelynn Drake's New York Times bestselling Dark Days series, has been a nightwalker for centuries, traveling the globe as an enforcer for a secretive, powerful organization. In BOUND TO ME, for the first time, we travel back into Mira's distant past to see the great love affair that shaped her.

March 31, 2012

He's the only man who can help her, and the one man she should avoid.

Tucker has always known he was different. But he's learned to control the Darkness within him, to keep his inner wolf at bay, as long as he doesn't fall in love. And that shouldn't be a problem because he hasn't seen his one true love since he was a teenager.
Del needs help, desperately. And the only person she can rely on happens to be the one man she knows she shouldn't seek out. Tucker's fierce protective instincts have scared her before, but she has to take the risk.

Together again, the love they struggled so long to forget rushes back stronger than ever. The temptation to give in is high, but it could cost them everything. And when Tucker's wolf is unleashed, will they be able to save themselves?

Contest News

Make sure to visit Juliana Stone's blog from April 16 - 27. She has a fabulous contest planned for the WICKED ROAD TO HELL April 24 release!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

7 Habits of Highly Effective Slackers

As with a few of my other writers on the blog, I'm under deadline. During this particular deadline, I'm noticing that I am getting VERY good at avoiding actually writing. I am being productive, just at the wrong things.
And as with any true problem, admitting and defining the behaviors will only help you get better.
Here are my 7 Habits of Highly Effective Slackers:
1. Having my e-mail open to respond to any emergencies that might possibly happen. No emergencies have arisen so far, but they could.
2. Cleaning- When I'm on deadline, my base boards are lemon-fresh, the entire house is dust-free (including ceiling fans), and my fridge is spotless.
3. Taking pictures of your food-plants-animals. Kerrelyn had this problem too last month and I fully commiserate. My baby girl wanted to be famous on a blog, so here she is as a puppy. My phone is now full of my babies being cute.
4. Over commitment to organizing. Now, some organizing is necessary, but we are talking above
and beyond ORGANIZING. Renaming photo files on my computer, rearranging the
pictures on my Pinterest page. Plotting out the novel until
there is no detail left un-plotted. As a die heard pantser, you know somethings wrong when I get
to this point.

5. Replaying Angry Birds levels to get perfect scores.

6. Needing to know every single detail of your BFF-significant other-dog's day. Asking deep and probing questions about what kind of sandwich they had for lunch and calling it "research."
7. Baking. Lots and Lots of baking. Good for my co-workers, but probably not for the book. So far I've perfected strawberry buttercream and this peanut butter goodie.
These are only seven. I'm sure that we all have our procrastination techniques. If you share, I'll pick one
commentor to get a copy of Diaries of an Urban Panther so you can procrastinate something too!
Amanda Arista
Diaries of an Urban Panther
Claws and Effect

Sunday, April 1, 2012

R is for Romance -- in "The Gathering of the Lost"

USA cover
 Giveaway Result:
The hands of Big Ben have ticked past the midnight hour in the UK — where April 5 has been release day for The Gathering of the Lost — so that means the giveaways have closed and its time for a result! 

(Drum Roll!) And the winners are:
  • Starcryer: for the 1 x signed, complete "Helen Lowe" book set comprising Thornspell, The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost  (Starcryer,  you will need to get in touch so I can send you the set: email me on contact[at]helenlowe[dot]info)
  • Donna S and KayaH: each get 1 of the 2 x signed copies of The Gathering of the Lost, The Wall of Night Book Two (I have both your details so will be in touch.)
Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who took part and helped me celebrate release day, in several countries, for The Gathering of the Lost.

Also, if you missed out here on the Supernatural Underground there are currently giveaway opportunities on my own blog, here (as well as a draw to give your name to a character in the forthcoming third book in the series) on Civilian Reader, here, and forthcoming (on April 9) on ismellsheep The full Blog Tour schedule is here and I will be doing giveaways on several of the other stops; I'll update on my blog once I know what's happening with each scheduled stop.

And wait there's more: one very stop on the Tour is going to be right here on the Supernatural Underground again on April 16, when I'll be doing an "in-character" interview with the wonderful Kim Falconer. I am very much looking forward to it!

Note: If I have not heard from any winner by Tuesday April 10 (to allow for Easter) then I will re-draw that particular giveaway.

Yes, "The Gathering of the Lost" (The Wall of Night Book Two) is here at last! Tuesday 27 was release day in the USA, Australia and New Zealand--and there's a fabulous Release Day post on the Harper Voyager site which you can check out here. And it's not  a long wait now until the book is out in the UK as well—just four days away on Thursday 5.

So of course I'm in the middle of the full on Blog Tour, visiting friends and fellow authors around the web and chatting about many things, including different aspects of the book. And what better to talk about on the Supernatural Underground than romance in The Gathering of the Lost.

Because Malian and Kalan, the two central characters from the first book, The Heir of Night, aren't kids anymore. They are five years older and so of course romance is going to be there in the story, especially as they are hanging out with other young people — and at least part of their adventures take place in the land of Emer, which even has a tradition of "springtime love": 

"A springtime love, Kalan thought now. It was one of the oldest traditions in the knightly history of Emer, with a cycle of songs composed around both the tradition and some of the more famous lovers." 

Why springtime love? Well in the story it's because of the nature of the society, where young people are brought up together and so of course there is love and romance — but they all know marriage is about political alliances and wealth and land, so such romances can usually never come to anything. But it's also springtime love because romance is not only an inescapable part of the fabric of life, but also brings that bubble of joy and delight, not unlike the first hint of springtime in the air — however fleeting that moment may prove to be.

" ... springtime love meant transience, coming into bloom and then gone again with the spring flowers. And already it was Midsummer ..."

And of course this is epic fantasy so there has to be an element of the star-crossed and the doomed to its swag bag of romantic love. But there are also beginnings ... 

"The light brightened, growing stronger as the maelstrom fell away and she rose through impenetrable white mist. Unexpectedly, she smelled jasmine, as dizzyingly sweet as when she first stepped into the temple grounds. The mist thinned and trees appeared, their trunks a smooth dappling of light and shade. Somewhere in the distance, a nightingale was singing its moonlit song.

The nightingale, Malian knew, was one of the enduring motifs of Emerian springtime love. She wanted to smile, but already her bare feet were touching grass and the mist had grown fine as a veil, with only a single drift, like smoke, crossing the crescent of the blue moon overhead. A second moon, three-quarters full and green as winter twilight, shone lower toward the horizon ...

as well as endings:

... The nightingale, which had been quiet for some time, was singing again and now the old Derai sorrow was all she heard of its song:  Kerem the Dark Handed and Emeriath; Xeria’s grief for Tasian; Yorindesarinen dying alone, her body hacked and riven, with the Chaos Worm’s venom racking her veins."

And Here's The Early Feedback Buzz for The Gathering of the Lost:

 “Helen Lowe’s Wall of Night series has the potential to become a classic, right up there with the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire . . . .  Anyone who loves to read fantastic fiction from a true talent should read this series.” — SF Site

“Helen Lowe’s writing moves from strength to strength. Powerful story lines, memorable characters and a vividly imagined world make The Gathering of the Lost a strong follow-up to The Heir of Night.” – Juliet Marillier

“Helen Lowe writes wonderful stories, yes, but her work also speaks with lyricism to deeper questions of how we treat each other.  With lovely prose that brings vivid life to her characters, she creates a universe with people we care about. This is an author with a gift for fantasy.” — Nebula Award-winning author Catherine Asaro

And To Celebrate I am Giving Away

2 x signed copies of The Gathering of the Lost, The Wall of Night Book Two

1 x signed complete "Helen Lowe" book set  comprising Thornspell, The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost

the giveaways to be drawn by Random Number Integer and posted here on UK Release Day, April 5

Don't forget to check back here (on this post) to see if you've won!

(And by the way there will be other giveaways on my own blog on the 5th — including the opportunity to enter the draw to give your name to a character in Daughter of Blood, The Wall of Night Book Three.)