Snow Maiden is now up on Amazon for pre-order! Reserve your copy so that you'll be ready for this winter fairy tale adventure when it releases on December 1,2017.
Also, the Amanda V. Shane author page is live if you'd like to visit at: http://www.amazon.com/author/amandavshane
A fairy tale romance - perfect for the holiday season and beyond!
to get us in the mood for Snow Maiden and a cover reveal teaser for you as well. I hope you all have a great weekend!
And here it (almost) is!
Get ready for Snow Maiden.
Hi everyone! Happy Monday and I hope you all have a terrific week laid out ahead of you. I haven't done this before yet but I wanted to start mentioning some of the books that I have read and enjoyed recently so that, if you are so inclined, you might have a look and find something new to read yourself. As the weather grows colder, I think of this as a great time for curling up with a good book someplace warm.
I had the chance to read Under Midnight Lights by Bree M. Lewandowski and loved it. As you may know, by now, I've spent most of my life in the ballet world, first as dancer and then as a teacher/choreographer, so when I saw this book with its amazingly beautiful cover with dancers on it, I had to have a second look. I did that and I read the book, which is the first in a series that follows the careers and burgeoning romance between professional dancers Martina Mariposa and Maraav Levondovska, "the wolf of the Mariinsky Ballet." Are we intrigued yet? I was. Then, as I read on, I was swept up into the world of a beautiful, cutting edge ballet company in Chicago. This story shows the hard life of an up and coming ballerina for sure but the initial interest and then beginnings of romance that spark between Martina and Maraav from page to stage is breathtaking. Author Bree M. Lewandowski did a truly fantastic job of showcasing the magic as well as the, sometimes darker underbelly of the behind the curtains ballet world.
Under Midnight Lights shows the start of a romance between the two protagonists that is sweet and young and, at the same time intense enough to make you fall in love with them both. I love the way Marraav battles with his desire for Martina because he respects her so much - yum! I mean, what's not to love there. Plus hot guy in tights with a dark past - hello! :)
Anyway, as I am working on my own fantastical ballet love story, Snow Maiden, and thinking about the romance of some of the world's greatest love stories, this book really struck a chord with me so I hope you will check it out. Here's the info:
(Just a little note here about Snow Maiden - there aren't any ballet references in the winter fairytale romance as it is set in a very ancient, very magical Northern Russia but it was inspired by my imagined backstory for the Snow Queen and King of the classic Nutcracker Ballet as well as the Russian folktale The Snow Maiden - of which there was also a ballet made. But I just thought that Under Winter Lights was a very romantic peek inside the dance world that I love so well and I can't wait to follow Martina and Maraav's story through to the end of the series.)
Here is another rough excerpt from Snow Maiden, my latest "kissing book" :)
His eyes wandered over her face, her hair, tiny snowflakes caught on his long black lashes and glimmered as they melted on his coat. He caught a white gold lock that blew over her shoulder in the wind. In her rush, she hadn’t tied it back and it brushed against her waistline. Vasilli’s fingers weighed and stroked the piece he held like it was fine silk.
He smiled, shook his head.
“What do you think the truth is? You don’t see anyone here that looks like you do you?”
Nika’s breath puffed in the cold as she exhaled.
“No fair haired child shall be born in the Northern Kingdom,” she recited, “the curse of the sorceress.”
“It’s beautiful,” Vasilli said as though he hadn’t heard her. “I’d never seen anything like it. When your scarf caught on the branches as you ran away from us, I saw it and I had to find the girl with the stolen bread.”
Nika frowned at him which earned her another teasing smile.
“So you do believe them then?” She asked him. “It’s just that when your man mentioned the…whatever it was that did this terrible thing, you acted like it couldn’t be real.”
“I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t half of the time, little snow maid,” he said, still fingering her hair, looking at it like it might hold some magic answers. All Nika could tell for certain, was that she liked watching his hand slip through it. His eyes lifted and he let the lock fall as he looked behind them, passed the farmer’s cottage to the mountain. “What I do know, is that this is going to be a hard winter for my people. We have many enemies for reasons as old as the tales you’ve heard, so old that I fear none of us even know why we are fighting anymore. It’s getting harder for us to leave the North to hunt, especially, when we have to avoid a straight path and go around the forest where I found you.”
Nika’s eyes lit up and she started to speak of all that had gone on there but he pressed his finger to her lips and sighed.
“Now, that place, I know is enchanted and, after what I’ve seen there, I’m willing to believe that maybe the Winter Witch really is the cause of all our troubles. If there is a new menace in our kingdom,” Vasilli’s eyes flicked back to the foot of the mountain again, “ah, well, these are the problems of a king.”
He started to turn away. Nika wanted to help him in some way, this king who just might be as alone in this world as she was, before she could stop the impulse, she reached for him. Her hand landed on his chest and he turned back. She reached up then and traced either side of his face with her hands.
Question and surprise took up his features in a way she found endearing. Then his lips parted and a smile began but, before it could mature into something common like a word or a laugh, she pushed up on her toes and kissed him. A soft grunt escaped Vasilli’s chest when she launched herself into him but it changed into a low growl and his arms came around her, crushing her to him.
She may have taken his lips but he immediately took over the kiss, opening her mouth with the pressure of his thumb on her chin and delving in with his tongue. He tasted her with a force born of unsatisfied need. She’d let down the damn with her impulsive move and now there was no holding back.
His big hand threaded fully into her hair, while the other pulled her against him until she could feel every hard line of him. The snow still fell light all around them as if the skies knew better than to interrupt the lovers with anything heavier. It landed on their faces and hair melting quickly on their heated skin but neither one seemed to notice. In that moment, Nika felt like one of them, a delicate ice spiral melting above a flame.
Vasilli explored every inch of her mouth, delving in and pulling her to him at the same time. Every cold place inside her, born of fear and her lonely girlhood, began to thaw. The heat took on a life of its own inside of her, growing expanding and touching every part of her until she really thought she might turn to steam and drift away like a puff of breath in the winter air.
Finally, they pulled apart, barely. Vasilli’s forehead rested on her own and they both gasped for the same air. Nika felt light enough to float away but his arms anchored her, still wrapped around her. Her eyelashes were wet and spiky from the snow when she looked up from underneath them at him and Vasilli stared at her. Both blue, she wondered how it was that their eyes could be so different – hers as dark as a lake and his as light as sky.
Finally, he placed a sound kiss on her forehead then held her at arms’ length. Even that small space between them let in the cold. With his arms holding her to him, it had been impossible to feel but now she shivered. Vasilli’s brow wrinkled and he looked up, a thicker snowflake landing in his eye. The skies would wait no longer. Nika laughed as he blinked at it then yelped when he dove down and scooped her up into his arms.
“You are, once again, out without a coat on, my lady,” he chided as he carried her and placed her up on Bellani’s back.
No post for today, I am researching away, learning about ancient Slavic traditions and whatnot...mostly whatnot :). Have a great week!
I really loved this pic by photographer Trevor Cole (found on Unsplash.com) and, even though it isn't snowy or wintery, I thought it was perfect for November. Her are a couple of excerpts from the winter fairytale romance I am currently working on. Tell me what you think in comments, I would love to hear from you. Have a great weekend!
Excerpts from Snow Maiden
“You think to sneak by me little snow hare?” He said and his dark eyes danced. “You led the chase well yesterday, myshka, but I found you. It would not be so easy to slip by me again. You will ride with us now, that is my decision. Don’t to think to second guess me; you will only try my patience.”
Those last words may have been mild but Nika could hear the bite behind them, the warning.
She’d landed herself in the lair of a dangerous man, she could tell.
But he soon changed the subject back to her clothes. He came back to her and tugged at her sleeve, testing the weight of it and saying that it was purely unsatisfactory for travel. Nika said nothing, not wishing to reveal that she’d run from her home in the dead of night with no time to plan for the weather. When he finished picking at her, he dragged a long coat out of a trunk and dropped it around her shoulders. She sagged under the weight of the thing. It was a man’s garment, presumably his, made of leather, lined and trimmed for a king with white hare’s fur. It was the finest thing to ever touch her person and felt incredibly warm. It covered her neck and chest and swam all the way down to her ankles. Her hands completely disappeared beneath the long sleeves.
Vasilli smiled at her not unkindly then he brushed his hand over her hair, stroking from the top of her head down the length where a curl rested at the tip of her breast. Nika trembled and inhaled through her nose.
His hand dropped down to his side but his eyes lingered on her hair. Nika shifted, nervous to be under his stare and startled at her own body’s response. Hidden under the heavy coat, her nipples tightened and scratched against the rough wool of her dress. Finally, he blinked and looked away.
“You have only moments before we leave. Meet me outside,” he’d said, then strode from the tent.
…and a scene from the Frozen Forest
“What do we do with her? If we keep her here, she’ll be found.”
“Keep her hidden, don’t let the Queen know about her.”
Nika woke to a chorus of hushed voices. Eyelashes heavy with cold crystals, she fluttered them open and a small hand brushed away the tiny fragments that broke and fell on her cheeks. Beautiful feminine faces met her eyes when she opened them and she gazed up, bewildered by the crowd that looked down on her.
“So blue,” a small voice gasped, “her eyes!”
Whispering further back could be heard.
Nika pushed herself up and realized that the ground where she lay was covered in snow. She shivered and wondered how long she’d been sleeping.
“Where am I,” she asked. “and who are all of you?”
They brought forth a thick pelt of white fur and wrapped it around her, instantly warming her.
All of the women around her were young, maybe her own age and they were white as the snow on the ground. They wore frosted head wreaths, some of fir pins and others of branches with holly berries, some even looked to be made entirely of silvery icicles that shined and glinted like diamonds. To a one, their skin was milky white and shimmered as though they’d been sifted with fairy dust.
Their dresses were beautiful, some long some short but all were white and decorated with furs and gemstones of silver, gray and blue. Nika looked around wide eyed at the place she had come to; she remembered scrambling into the cave to escape the hunters’ but, after that only falling and then nothing else. It was full on winter here. A pristine layer of snow covered everything and glinted with thousands of tiny diamonds the way it will do in the sun. All of the fairy women stood around her in a small clearing of what was otherwise a dense forest of fir trees that were covered in a dense silver frost.
It was incredibly beautiful. What was more incredible Nika thought was how she didn’t feel nearly so cold anymore. She sank her fingers into the soft fur on her shoulders. One of the girls turned her head and a faint pattern shown like the markings one might have seen on a native of the warm South Lands up high on her cheek and forehead. It looked like a snowflake or the spars of a cracked sheet of ice. When she looked at the rest, she could see that they all had similar markings on their skin in various patterns.
“Don’t be afraid, fair one,” one of them came forward, “we found you here sleeping and sheltered you.”
“H-how did I get here?” Nika asked, not at all sure that this wasn’t a dream.
“You must have fallen,” someone answered.
Nika pressed a hand to the side of her head and felt at a tender spot there. The snow ladies forms started to fog in her eyes and a memory came to her unbidden.
“I remember it now, the legend of this place, she said, her voice sounding far away to her own ears, “a witch from the Northwinds cursed a kingdom I think.” She tried to recall the story that grandmother had told her. She’d heard so many. That was one of her joys, sitting and listening to the old woman recite tale after tale from memory. ‘Another, grandmother, another story’ little girl Nika would say, hungry for every drop of love she could squeeze from the magic of those moments.
“She stole all of the young girls, the fair haired ones, from the land but I can’t recall why and there was a wizard too or was it a bear…I can’t remember…”
She was suddenly very drowsy again even though she’d only just awakened.
“Yes,” the leader said, her voice getting distant, “the fair haired ones.”
“Rest now dear one,” one of the other girls whispered and Nika eye’s were heavier than she ever thought could be.
She stretched out on the ground and the fairies covered her in more furs and she drifted off to sleep again.
About the Author
Amanda V Shane is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance and is currently working on her Tides of Atlantis series about the super hot lost kings of Atlantis as well as her Enchanted Lands Romances.