Monday, December 14, 2009

Guest Blog & Giveaway with Deborah Nemeth of Samhain Publishing

Today my guest is Deborah Nemeth, editor with Samhain Publishing.
Welcome Deborah!

Why I Love Editing Fantasy

While I love paranormal and contemporary romances as much as the next romance editor, I have a special love for fantasy. Even so, I tend to be extra-selective about contracting fantasy romance projects, because so often fantasy can feel derivative. I’ve been fortunate enough to have edited eight wonderful fantasies for Samhain Publishing, and I’ll be giving away a free ebook of one of them today—winner’s choice.

One thing I particularly enjoy about fantasies are all the nifty things authors create. I’m not talking about fabulous creatures so much as creative concepts of how magic works. In R.F. Long’s The Wolf’s Sister and The Wolf’s Mate, magic is an inherited trait that drives the characters insane unless properly treated. In The Scroll Thief by the same author, the protagonists are trying to recover a magic scroll that allows one to rewrite history. The high iron content in the heroine’s blood affects the powers of the Fae in Long’s novel Soul Fire. In Myla by Moonlight by Inez Kelley, magic-wielders use their powers to serve justice by becoming Truthbearers, while the villain uses his to manipulate memories in order to pervert the course of justice. Myla herself is a creature of magic and therefore not fully human, which forms the romantic conflict of the novel, a conflict which requires an accomplished author to pull off well. Happily, Inez Kelley has the requisite skills to make this utterly convincing and compelling.

Read more about this title- here

Setting a story in an imaginary land creates a distance that allows the author to make her characters suffer to a greater degree than I could bear in a more realistic contemporary romance. Everything can be more intense: the nature of sacrifices made, the level of emotion endured, the amount of pain inflicted on the characters—and the characters themselves can be truly larger-than-life. The flawed wizard hero of Ilfayne’s Bane by Julia Knight—a current EPIC award nominee for best fantasy—suffers intense guilt over the vengeance he wrought centuries earlier, following the death of his wife and children. This, combined with his immortality, has made him flip and distant, unwilling to form any sort of attachment with humans who will only die soon.

He is the ├╝ber-flawed hero, down to his missing hand, the type you think you wouldn’t want your daughter or best friend to hook up with, but who will win your heart by the last page. One of the heroines of The Scroll Thief committed a similar type of grief-driven, revenge-based sin in her past, leaving her penitent and willing to go to the ends of the earth to atone.

Read more about this title- here

Some fantasy authors just blow me away with their awesome world-building. The Scroll Thief is a fantasy of epic proportions. R.F. Long draws us into every aspect of her world until we absorb the politics, religion, history, and justice of Ithian, bringing to life the mean streets of the city, the palaces of the powerful, the tents of the desert nomads, and the silent cloisters of the religious. This story isn’t for the faint of heart, since it depicts graphic violence and heartbreaking sacrifices. And it carries a three handkerchief warning—while editing this long novel, I must have read it all the way through a half-dozen times, but it still made me cry every time. I love big, fat fantasies written on an epic canvas with a large cast of characters and a fully realized world, and I love deeply emotional reads, so when the two are combined, it’s magical indeed.

Read more about this title- here

Julia Knight’s Oathcursed series is another epic-scale fantasy. In Ilfayne’s Bane, the author has created a world still reeling from the long-ago mage wars, in which the gods contend for worship and the kyrbodans and humans keep well away from each other, leaving the heroine (who’s half human, half kyrbodan) reviled no matter where she lives. The gods play an even larger role in book 2, Love Is My Sin (releasing next month), with the jealousy of one god creating all kinds of problems for the honorable hero.

Read more about this title- here

I love books with strong conflict and, when well-written, fantasy romances contain impossible odds. In Myla by Moonlight, the hero prince must have an heir in order to secure the kingdom and end a bloody war, but the non-human heroine can’t give him one. In The Wolf’s Sister, the heroine must depend on the hero to escape her brother, who’s been driven insane by magic, without revealing to the hero that she’s related to the man who murdered his sister. In Love Is My Sin, the regent has vowed to help his foster son form a badly need alliance by marriage to the very woman he ends up falling in love with.

Read more about this title- here

Fantasy lends itself well to exciting action climaxes in which the reader can’t figure out how the hero and heroine are ever going to escape. In Myla by Moonlight, author Inez Kelley puts her characters into such an impossible situation that readers are convinced that all is lost, and the clever resolution comes about through a tear-inducing sacrifice. It’s the kind of ending that sticks in a reader’s mind for months after putting the book down.

Read more about this title- here

Sex can be a lot of fun in erotic fantasies. Imagine sex without any of our society’s norms, expectations, taboos, or hang-ups. That’s what you get in Ritual Passion by Cathryn Brunet (releasing next week). I normally don’t like it when plots rely on sexual acts, but this author’s writing is so strong, I was easily able to get beyond that and be utterly caught up in her world, one populated with a jealous goddess, jungle-hardened warriors and corrupt priests. In Love Is My Sin by Julia Knight, the heroine uses her sexual favors as a political tool to retain control of her tribes, a practice that is the norm for her country. However in the hero’s land, this behavior is shocking, so her sexuality drives a dimension of the conflict in this richly layered novel.

Read more about this title- here

Sometimes a book set in our contemporary world can read more like a fantasy than a paranormal. In Soul Fire, a prince of the Fae gets stuck in 21st century England, and hosts of his enemy Sidhe come after him, enmeshing the heroine in a sensual, highly romantic adventure based on folklore.

Read more about this title- here

Another reason I love fantasy is that authors can indulge in lush descriptions that would feel out of place and overdone in contemporary-set commercial fiction. Ritual Passion opens with this evocative passage:

Sunlight dapples the old temple walls, the ruins of a lost time. They stand, these shrines to forgotten gods, but precariously, half eaten by our ravenous jungle. I touch a lichen-encrusted figure etched in the crumbling tufa. I do not know which of the old gods this is, but I fear that I should. My race is dying, withering under nature’s exuberant gaze. The god knows this, and taunts me from his stone prison.
Butterflies drift past my face, iridescent escapees from the encroaching forest. Heat pummels my skin. This close to the city boundary, the atmosphere hangs thick and dense. Oppressive, as though the earth is leaden with expectation.
The world waits, breathing the shallow air of anticipation, like I do. From a distance comes the triumphant wail of a hunter’s horn. Startled birds shoot for the sky in an explosion of cobalt, emerald and scarlet wings. They quickly resettle, hiding amongst the intense verdant foliage and resuming their incessant chatter.

Yet another fun part of reading fantasy is the gorgeous cover art. Some of my favorite fantasy romance covers include the EPIC-nominated novel Ilfayne’s Bane, which vividly depicts the wizard-hero casting a spell, the moody and magical cover of The Wolf’s Mate, and the lush, oh-so-romantic cover of Soul Fire (currently out in ebook, the print edition releases next May) which is almost worth buying for the cover alone—but don’t worry, the story is just as lovely.

Which Samhain Publishing fantasy cover do you like best? Tell me the title of your favorite Samhain Publishing fantasy romance cover, which you can see here:, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a free Samhain Publishing ebook! You’ll be able to choose from The Scroll Thief, Ilfayne’s Bane, Love Is My Sin, Myla by Moonlight, The Wolf’s Sister, The Wolf’s Mate, Soul Fire, and Ritual Passion. And be sure to share what you love—or hate—about fantasy romance.

***Open to everyone. When entering the giveaway don't forget to leave an email address if there isn't one in your profile. The winner will be announced after 12am midnight in the comments.***

Deborah Nemeth is an editor for Samhain Publishing, Ltd. Since Deborah began reading before her fourth birthday and stops only when she absolutely has to, it was probably inevitable that she would major in English literature and eventually become an editor (a job that allows her to indulge her compulsion for straightening out tangled syntax and putting dangling modifiers in their places). As an utter bookslut, she loves to read all sorts of things, from mysteries to historical fiction to fantasy. Over the years she’s lived in Ohio, Michigan, Chicago and Puerto Rico, although she spends most of her time in places such as nineteenth-century Bath or Middle-earth. Currently she lives in Virginia with her husband (a candidate for sainthood) and two beautiful daughters.


  1. I have loved almost all the covers I've read from Samhain Publishing. I especially like Anne Cain's cover art work. Some of my favorite covers include:

    Healer's Touch- Kirsten Saell
    FireDrake- Bianca D'Arc
    Surrender Dorothy- R.G. Alexander

    I love Fantasy Romance because in transports you to another world, where anything is possible.

    Thanks again to Deborah for stopping by and Good Luck to every one who enters the giveaway!

  2. I agre with you Anna, I love Anne Cain's work as well...

    I love the covers on Bianca D'Arc books all of them, they are so suited to the story..

    I thought Wings Of Change was excellent, but Fire Drake is just the bomb...


  3. Samhain has such great covers, picking one is hard. I love the cover to Soul Fire.

  4. I love this post. Fantasy, either non-romance or romance is my preferred choice for reading.

    I have to agree with Anna, I love Kirsten Saell's covers!

    I have read Wolf's Sister by RF Long and I thought it was amazing. I have Soul Fire and The Scroll Thief on my ereader. I really need to read them. I've been wanting to read The Scroll Thief since I read Wolf's Sister.

  5. Just went and took an updated look, FireDrake is still my favorite of them all, Deborah.

    I agree with you that the magical concepts and powers is what really draw me to the fantasy stories. Love wizards and druids, and part of that appeal is because their powers can often seen more believable, in a scientific way to some degree.

  6. I have to agree with everyone else here...I love Anne Cain's covers!!

    I love fantasy romance because the authors can create a world where anything is possible. Whether it is creating characters with supernatural powers here in present day Earth; of futuristic; other worlds; etc.

    It is a genre where I can experience new things and let my imagination run wild with their descriptive words and imagery.

  7. Hi :)
    Thank you for the excellent post. I enjoyed reading from an editor's perspective the books I like. Ruth is an amazing author. I read this post twice I liked it so much.
    My favorite cover on the website link was “Immersed” by Liz Craven.
    Happy Holidays,

  8. Myla by Moonlight

    Inez Kelley is wonderful!

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  9. Deb's my editor, too, and I'm thrilled to work with her. She rocks!

    As for my favorite covers, it's a toss up between Soul Fire and Ilfayne's Bane.

    I've loved all the books mentioned in the blog that have been released. These are outstanding fantasy romances, and I can't wait to get my hands on both The Wolf's Mate and Love Is My Sin.

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  11. Don't got much time on my hands to be sifting through novels in search of something worthwhile to read. So what I usually do is go with ones that have won awards or been nominated for an award as Julia Knight's, Ilfayne’s Bane has. Sounds like the sorta story I'd like, too. Sure to be picking up a copy, I am, just as soon as I get up the loot. (Temp jobs have been few and far between of late :-(

  12. Anna, thanks so much for having me today.

    I agree that Bianca and Kirsten's covers rock.

    Kara, I love the way you describe the genre (and so much more concisely than my post, LOL).

    Ken, I hear ya on financial constraints.

    Crista, thanks for the compliment. *waves hello*

  13. “Crossing Swords” by Kirsten Saell

  14. I think the cover that draws me most strongly is Go Between by Dayna Hart... there is the usualy naked body but the postition seems to suggest a deeper emotion than passion... it makes me curious and I want to know what is happening to the creature pictured.

    I love fantasy because it gives me an excuse to leave my world and roam a new dangerous world where... well, where no one laughs at me. LOL I'm well out of high school now but that nerdy little girl still speaks up inside my head sometimes.

  15. I have to agree with Anna. Samhain is very good with cover art that work wonderfully with the author's stories.

    Some of my favorite: Soul Fire, and Myla by Moonlight.

    armiefox at yahoo dot com

  16. Cinderella unmasked was my favorite on there. They all are great at "stoking" the imagination.

  17. I like Touch of Fire with a secondary nod to Myla by Moonlight.

    redspencer (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  19. Hi Deborah and Anna!
    I agree Soul Fire is an absolutely gorgeous cover, no matter the genre.

    I think the cover I like most is Princess of Thieves by Gia Dawn. I can tell by the cover it is a fantasy, love the colors, the's different in a more subtle way of telling the story, and the vines and the top and bottom and misty look to the cover makes you think your peeking into another world.

    What I hate about fantasy romance covers, especially in digital publishing is computer generated people. HATE IT (for example Lords of Chi and The Princes of Anfall) With Photoshop capabilities today there is really no reason to do this...I just really detest it. However when you can't have a picture of somthing that does not exist, for example a dragon) then I don't mind so much. In fact I love the cover for Bianca D'Arc's Firedrake and Rosemary Laurey's Kallaayt's Tale.

    Thanks for sharing the stories that you've edited. I'm sad to say I haven't read any of them (lately I've been on a contemporary binge), but I love Samhain! Keep up the great works, and I'll keep reading them!!!!


  20. All the covers are great.
    I will pick The Earth's Edge.

    I love fantasy because it transports you to another world where anything can happen.

  21. So many are gorgeous, but I think my favorite cover is the "Soul Fire" cover for R.F. Long's story.

    kltownsend at ymail dot com

  22. I absolutely love the cover for Soul Fire. His ears look ripe for nibbling!

    I love to read fantasy. Everything from the Black Jewels to the Codex Alera to... Soul Fire. I admit, the cover sold the book and the author to me.

    Urban fantasy is fast becoming a favorite flavor of mine. I enjoy fantasy elements set in the modern world very much.

    Good luck to those entering the giveaway! With R.F. Long and Inez Kelley, you can't go wrong.

  23. I have extended the giveaway deadline. I'll announce the winner here in the comments after midnight.


  24. There were a lot of very pretty covers there but the one I really liked was “Tree Sprite” by Brenda Bryce

  25. Wow, all these books sound so good. I've added The Wolf's Sister and The Scroll Thief to my TBR pile. I like the cover for Otherness, by Rina Slayter. I'm not fond of covers with bare chests or nudity as I don't feel comfortable reading such books in public.

  26. Ilfayne's Bane by Julia Knight. The book's great, and so's the cover. :-)


    (adzmodeus (at) gmail (dot) com)

  27. 'Scroll Thief' is going on my TBR pile.

    Covers: Some really great choices. I particularly liked 'Soul Fire', 'The Sun Sword' & 'In the Gloaming'

  28. Fantasy Romance is one of my favorite sub genres - takes me completely out of this world into a place with people I could never conceive of. I love Michelle Pillow’s work and she always has some really interesting covers. One of the most beautiful belongs to King of the unblessed – loved this book!!. As others have said before Bianca D’Arc also have some beautiful covers.

  29. Great post! Tis true Samhain do fab covers!! But out of these Ritual Passion wins hands down for me!!!

  30. I love a lot of the covers but the cover of Ilfayne's Bane took my breath away. He wasn't just dark and handsome, something in his eyes just called to me. I could drown in his eyes. He's the type of man that if he walked in the room your breath would catch, your skin would heat and your heart would race. He's gorgeous.

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  32. I love the haunting cover "At Earth's Edge".

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  33. I like Soul Fire best because of the connective look between the two of them. The colors also had to the description of the story.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  34. Wolfkin by Emily Veinglory is an awesome cover.
    (Hi Deb)

  35. Hard to pick just one,there are so many.Myla by Moonlight-Inez Kelley

  36. Anna, thanks for extending the contest deadline for the night owls and those who live down under. And thanks again for having me today.


    I like all the covers but I would have to say Myla in Moonlight would be my favorite.

    Please enter me in the contest.

  38. Samhain Publishing's books have beautiful covers. There are very few that I don't like. The fantasy cover that I like the best is "The Sun Sword" by Lexxie Couper. "At Earth's Edge" by Christine McKay and "Soul Fire" by R. F. Long are two others that I think are gorgeous. The covers are the first thing that attracts me to a book.

    I love the fantasy genre because anything can happen and usually does! :)


  39. I'm in-awe of all covers, I can't even draw a stick person - and these artists make visual worlds in one page!

    Ok my favourite fantasy themed covers from the section are:
    1. Dragons Birth - Jannie Andrus
    2. Boarder Lair - Dragon Knights Book 2 - Bianca D'Arc

    and from those mentioned above...
    Soul Fire - R.F.Lang
    and a close close second by Ritual Passion - Cathryn Brunet.


    Bye 4 now

  40. All the covers are great but Ritual Passion by Cathryn Brunet is the best. Love the tempting glimpse of bare back.
    And the best thing about Fantasy is that authors can write about amazing worlds and make you feel like you are totally immersed in them. Living and breathing them.

  41. Ritual Passion wins for me. The sort of mayan architecture with the woman's picture look great together.

    If I win I want a copy of Ilfayne's Bane, though. Julia Knight is the shit!

    Julia would know how to get in touch with me if I win, if my profile doesn't have my contact info.

  42. **the giveaway part of this post is now closed**

    I used to chose the winner and the lucky person is:

    K.L. Townsend


  43. If I have to choose, it would be the cover for The Wolf's Sister.
    I love fantasy romance because it is out of the ordinary.
    Thanks for the chance to win a book.

  44. Oh yay! Thanks! Now the hard part: deciding which book :)

  45. Well done!

    (Ilfayne's Bane is great, if you haven't read it.)


  46. I think I've decided which book I'd like accept for the contest. Do you know what I need to do/who I need to contact and how I am to do so? I don't want to bombard people via email if there is a process I should follow :)



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