Oddly enough, both of these women are pen names belonging to the same author.
Anna J. Evans: So, Annaliese, I hear you’ve got a blog to do today. How’s that going?
Annaliese Evans: Not so well.
Anna J. Evans: Can’t decide what to blog about, huh?
Annaliese Evans: No. I can’t.
Anna J. Evans: You’ve done interviews before, it’s not that hard.
Annaliese Evans: But this isn’t an interview. It’s a topic I need to come up with on my own.
Anna J. Evans: And that makes you anxious, doesn’t it? Makes you feel like whatever topic you choose will in some way expose your introverted self in a way that makes you uncomfortable?
Annaliese Evans: (Nods. Takes long sip of tea to better hide the telltale, anxious clenching of her jaw.)
Anna J. Evans: Okay, well, you could blog about why you chose the darker, scarier, more disturbing versions of the Sleeping Beauty and Frog Prince myths as inspiration for your first two books.
Annaliese Evans: I could. But…
Anna J. Evans: But you’re worried that will give away plot points. I get you. You are pretty tricky with that plotting stuff. So, how about blogging about…GOOD GIRLS WHO WRITE BAD THINGS! That would be awesome. You’re so nice, but man, those books are dark.
Annaliese Evans: I don’t really think telling people I write “bad” things is a good marketing strategy, Anna.
Anna J. Evans: Heh, heh. Yeah, probably not. How about “wicked” things?
Annaliese Evans: I think that’s more your territory.
Anna J. Evans: (Rolls eyes). You’re not making this easy. There are tons of things you could write about, inspiration around every corner. You need to quit being so introverted. Communicate with people!
Annaliese Evans: You’re right.
Anna J. Evans: You can’t depend on me to be there, carrying the blogging load for you forever. I mean, you don’t even have your own blogger account.
Annaliese Evans: I know.
Anna J. Evans: Or Livejournal. Or Facebook.
Annaliese Evans: Or Twitter.
Anna J. Evans: Or Twitter! I know! How can you not be on Twitter? It’s so fun. Our other pen name is on twitter and she has a great time over there. It sucks TONS of time.
Annaliese Evans: Is that a good thing? Shouldn’t we be writing?
Anna J. Evans: It’s a great thing. It’s low stress networking and it keeps her feeling connected to a larger community. Connection is important.
Annaliese Evans: I agree.
Anna J. Evans: Communication and connection. I’m trying to communicate with you right now, to let you know that it’s time for you to step out of the shadows. Quit being afraid of speaking out. The other two of us are always getting out there and meeting our readers.
Annaliese Evans: Right. You’re right.
Anna J. Evans: So get out there! Introduce yourself! Shake a few hands!!!
Annaliese Evans: (Turns to face blog readers.) Hello, my name is Annaliese Evans, I write sexy, historical, paranormal romances. My first two releases are part of the “Night’s Rose” series, which follow the adventures of the real Sleeping Beauty, an ogre slayer names Rosemarie, and her two potential suitors, a vampire lord and an ancient faerie.
Anna J. Evans: Well…it’s a start.
You can learn more about Annaliese and her latest release from Tor, THE PRINCE OF FROGS, at http://annalieseevans.com/. Annaliese also writes erotic romance as Anna J. Evans and Young Adult romance under a third pen name. She lives in the south with her wonderfully supportive and multiple-personality-tolerant Air Force husband, and their four children.
Leave a question for Annaliese along with your email addy as she is giving away a copy of both "Night's Rose" books ("Night's Rose" and "The Prince of Frogs") to two readers. Winners will be picked at the end of the week so make sure and check back.
Excerpt from The Prince of Frogs
Though the knocking did not come again, Rose threw off the covers and reached for her robe. The spring nights were cool, and she preferred to be modestly covered when doing battle.
No, that wasn't quite true. She preferred to be dressed in boy's clothes, but since coming to Myrdrean she'd had little occasion to dress against her gender. The ogres had yet to recover from the losses their numbers suffered in London, and the tribe's fear of the dread Briar Rose had returned with a vengeance. She hadn't heard a whisper of ogre activity in Myrdrean or the surrounding nations since returning to her home country.
But that didn't mean she'd grown careless. Her sword still sat in its place by her bed, clean and ready for battle.
The metal fairly sang with pleasure when she gripped the hilt, its blade stretching as it filled with faerie magic. Rose couldn't deny the excitement filling her own veins as she stalked toward the window. Her mind might insist she craved peace above all else, but her heart thirsted for the thrill of combat. One did not spend over a hundred years as an executioner to suddenly become content minding hearth and home.
A part of her still longed for the chance to face down a foe, to feel her arms burn with exertion as sword cleaved through flesh, to see blood flow like a font from the sundered halves of an enemy.
Yes, there is a lust even greater than that for flesh sliding against flesh. The lust for blood, for the power that comes from--
Rose stumbled, tripping over the hem of her nightdress.
Something wasn't right. She had never relished her role as death dealer to the tribe. In fact, she had often prayed the ogres would cease feeding upon innocent humans, thus making her work unnecessary.
The sudden lust for blood and the strange, seductive voice in her mind...she was certain they were not her own. Whatever visitor lurked in the darkness beyond her window, he or she must have the ability to alter the thoughts of others.
Rose did her best to firm her mental shields, ensuring she was defended from outside invasion. Her mental connection to Gareth after their blood exchange had necessitated learning the skill. There were some thoughts she wished not even her dear husband to overhear, and she certainly didn't relish the idea of Ambrose or other supernaturals eavesdropping on her innermost counsel.
"Ambrose," she called once more, though now she was fully awake she knew it was not the faerie who waited outside her window.
Since the night he had filled her with his magic, banishing the virulent energy of the black elf, she had a way of sensing when he was near. She could feel him as if he were a part of her.
He is a part of you, Rosemarie, and will only become more so once you rid yourself of the vampire. Surely you know this charade cannot go on. You are destined for greater things, dearest daughter.
"Maman?" Rose's hand froze before she could grasp the curtains.
Her mother's spirit had spoken to her in Myrdrean once before, but that had been months ago, when the keep was still in ruins. Her grandfather Stephen, the Seelie king, was certain Marionette's soul had finally left the earthly plane and journeyed on to the Summerland now that her daughter's life was no longer threatened by ancient Fey prophecy. Rose certainly hadn't felt her mother in the way she once had. It was more that her maman was a loving energy contained deep within her heart than an entity outside herself.
But even when she had heard her mother whispering in her ear, it had been nothing like this. Marionette had always been a warm, loving light in the lives of others, never the kind to call to the darkness within.
Laughter echoed through the room, as if there were no drapes hung to cover the bare stone walls.
I do not call to the darkness, my dear. I am the darkness. Your darkness.
The blue curtains, which looked nearly black in the darkened room, began to glow a deep, urgent red. It was the red of freshly spilt blood, of an ill-omened sunset, as scarlet as the eyes of the black elf who haunted her dreams.
Rose stumbled backward, tripping over her gown again, as if she were an awkward girl of fourteen, not a queen of nearly two hundred years gifted with the grace of a goddess from her cradle. But she suddenly felt very young and very small, not at all the fierce woman whose profession had once forced her to be faster and more terrifying than the monsters who roamed the night. It was difficult to feel anything but small in the presence of the figure rising like a phoenix from the flaming red curtains, stretching and writhing as she grew as tall as the rafters.
Rich velvet fabric flowed into satin skin the color of a dove's wing, pale flesh draped in scarlet like the blood of a stag spilled on newly fallen snow. Slowly a white face with deep red lips formed near the shadows of the ceiling, a woman's face framed by hair as black as night.
Even cloaked in darkness, Rose could see that the giantess was beautiful.
And terrible. A terrible, wicked beauty so ancient it made her bones ache to be in the creature's presence.
"Please," Rose begged as she rolled onto her knees, pressing her forehead to the rich carpet in supplication. She wasn't certain what she pleaded for, only that she wished she had stayed abed, buried beneath the covers as she'd done as a child when nightmares came to call.
You cower before me, as they all have done from time immemorial. I expected...more.
Disappointment pressed down around Rose. She gasped, squeezing her eyes shut, pressing her fists into the floor, desperately wishing The Great Mother had found her pleasing.
So you know me. That is better. The pressure threatening to crush her bones abated a bit, allowing Rose to suck in a ragged breath. Show me your face, dearest. I would look upon that which I have created.
Rose trembled as she looked up, up, up into the face of the goddess. Part of her had known the woman's identity from the very instant she appeared, even if her logical mind insisted The Mother was simply a myth created to explain the creation of the first supernaturals.
The giantess laughed, as if she were privy to Rose's thoughts, which she certainly was. There were no shields strong enough to protect a three-quarter mortal's mind from The Mother of Them All. The Mother had existed before the land emerged fully from the sea, before anything so fragile as humans or the supernaturals who fed upon them roamed the earth.
A giant hand with fingertips like flesh-covered claws reached down, catching Rose under the chin and urging her to tilt her head even further back. Rose obeyed, knowing there was no sense in pulling away. The Mother could slice her throat open with the slightest motion of her finger. Her wrist was larger around than Rose's entire body.
Beautiful, as beautiful a thing as ever walked the earth. The Mother sounded pleased, as if she took credit for Rose's long golden hair and captivating blue eyes and the ten faeries who had visited Rosemarie with gifts in her cradle had nothing at all to do with the matter.
But then, as mother of the Fey line, perhaps she simply took credit for the clever use of faerie magic. Whatever the reason for her pleasure, Rose was tremendously grateful. Just as The Mother's displeasure stole her breath, her approval seemed to shoot her body full of sunlight.
No, not sunlight. The pleasure was too wicked to be compared to anything so pure. It was a euphoria that made her want to rip things apart, to put her sword to bloody use and dance in the spray.
Rose's fingers fisted around the hilt of her weapon, which suddenly felt alive in her hands. The faerie sword burned hot against her skin, as desperate for blood as its mistress. But what was there to kill? There was no one. Not a single creature within the castle walls had offended her...none, save the monster who slept in her bed, the vampire who had stolen her rightful husband's place with deceit and--
"No." Her chest grew tight with anguish at the mere thought of hurting her husband. She would rather die herself than harm a single hair on his head. The Mother was the one who hated Gareth. It was she who placed these horrible thoughts in Rose's mind.
Do not lie to yourself. It is your own soul that thirsts for the vampire's blood.
Rose swallowed against the metallic taste rising in her throat. The flavor of blood, made familiar from her husband's lips, but more intoxicating than it had ever been before. She'd never found the slightly bitter taste unpleasant, but neither had it made her moan with delight or tremble with anticipation.
Gareth's veins rushed with the essence he had stolen only hours before. It would be a simple matter to take what she craved from his sleeping body. Fangs were not required when one had a sharp sword at the ready. She would slit his throat and fall upon him with her eager mouth, lapping at the wound she had made as his life seeped away. She would laugh as his blood flowed hot and thick across her face, her hands, spilling onto the sheets like--
"No. No, no, no." Rose squeezed her eyes shut, struggling against the horrific images in her mind. A part of her was certain she would be violently ill, but still her belly cramped with the hunger for blood.
Frantically she tried to fling her sword from her grasp, but it seemed her fingers would no longer obey her command. They were already committed to the task of slitting open the man she loved.
"I am human," she said, her voice breaking as invisible strings jerked her to her feet like a marionette. "I do not thirst for blood, I do not require--"
You have been too long without, dearest. There is no shame in your hunger. The Mother is both the creator and the destroyer. The womb that births in a rush of blood and the mouth that devours in--
"I am human! I'm not a monster." Rose sobbed as her body spun toward the bed.
Then you agree your husband is monstrous? That his hunger makes him so?
"No, I-I don't. Please!" Rose screamed the last word, panic clouding her mind as her sword lifted itself into the air of its own accord and her feet took the final few steps to her husband's side.
The vampires were the least of my children, but I loved them once. I loved them all--my beautiful and powerful Fey, my charming vampires, my clever elves, even the ever-hungry ogres. They were much like baby birds, always with their mouths open.
The Great Mother's laughter felt oily and thick upon Rose's skin, defiling her as surely as the murder she would soon commit.
"I beg of you, please. I love him! I love him." Tears flowed freely down Rose's face, and her heart raced from the sheer terror of looking down to see the shadow of her blade on her husband's sleeping face.
The time for love has past. Now there is only death. Death to the Fey, death to the vampires, death to all who would dare set themselves above The Mother! There was no laughter in her voice now, only hatred. Each word that dropped into Rose's mind seemed to leave behind the taint of evil and disease, until the room swam before her eyes, a blur of black and grey.
Black, grey, and red.
She screamed, a raw sound of pure agony as her sword swept down, a ruthless bird of prey intent upon her husband's throat. Though she could not bring her eyes to look, Rose felt the hot splash as Gareth began to bleed.
And bleed, and bleed, until her nightclothes were soaked and sticking to her body, until the smell of death permeated the room and Rose fell to the floor in a desperate attempt to find some sweeter air.
But there was nothing sweet to be found. There was only the rage of the goddess pressing in around her, stealing her breath, stealing her life, consuming her whole until it was as though there had never been a Rosemarie von Edenburg to begin with.