About Annette Marie
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every book.
Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
To find out more about Annette and her books, visit her website at www.authorannettemarie.com
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Annette Marie and I’m a YA fantasy author. Earlier this year, I completed a 5-part urban fantasy series, Steel & Stone, which is a fun mix of kick-butt heroine, action, magic, daemons, and a bit of romance. My new book, Red Winter, is the first in a trilogy that blends fantasy with Japanese mythology, and it will be out next month!
2. Your books have amazing covers. How involved are you in the creation of them?
I actually design all my book covers myself! I’ve always loved drawing, which it eventually expanded into digital art. Prior to publishing my first series, I did some cover design for indie authors. The Red Winter cover was somewhere around 40 hours of work and 10-15 stock images—though that’s definitely not typical for a cover. It was a complex one to make.
3. If you could be a character from one of your books, who would you be and why?
Tough question! I identify with all my characters, but I’m not sure I could pick one who I wanted to be. I’ve always admired Piper’s confidence and courage, while Emi is somehow gentle and strong at the same time.
4. You have a thing for dragons. Where does this fascination come from?
I’ve loved dragons for so long that it’s like asking “When did you decide you love ice cream?” Besides, dragons are THE coolest of all the mythological creatures. How could you not love them?
5. Halloween is coming up next month. Do you already know which costume you will be wearing?
Have you seen the YouTube videos with the floppy dinosaur costume?
6. I read on your website that you love art. What do you like to do the most?
Whatever I’m in the mood for—I’ve dabbled in everything. Digital art, drawing, painting, sculpting. Lately I’ve been attempting to sew plushies … still learning that one.
7. Is there a routine you stick to when you start writing a story?
My daily writing routine is pretty simple. I get my laptop, sit down in my super comfy couch (which faces the giant fish tank my husband got me for Christmas last year), put on headphones and music, and write until I hit my daily word count or run out of steam. Some days are an absolute blast where the words fly onto the page … other days, not so much.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
In my experience, one of the hardest parts for a new writer is finishing a book. There’s a quote that I’m probably mangling but goes along the lines of “The hard part isn’t the writing itself. It’s sitting down and actually writing.” Focus on getting words down on the page and the rest can come later.
9. Where do you find the inspiration for you stories?
Everything that I encounter in day to day life is potential story fodder. Collecting ideas—characters, places, events, premises—is like dropping random puzzle pieces into a bucket in my head, and when it comes time to create a new story, I reach into the bucket, scoop out a handful, and see how the pieces fit together. Kind of a lame analogy, but I don’t know how else to explain it.
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now I’m focused on the Red Winter trilogy—super excited about it! A future series set in the Steel & Stone universe is in development as well, and beyond that, I have a ton of ideas and not enough time to write them all. What comes next will depend on what I want to write and what my readers want to read—but I’m sure it will be something cool. I don’t write not-cool stuff. ;)
For Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy Book 1)
For Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy Book 1)
The yokai didn’t move, just held her in place with a strength she couldn’t fight. She tipped her head back to see his face, to gauge his intent. His gaze traveled across her room, intent and analyzing. Then his eyes flicked down and he appeared almost surprised to see her staring up at him. His mouth curved into a sly grin, flashing pointed canines.
His amusement at her terror sparked a tiny surge of anger. “Let me go!”
“Ah, little miko, didn’t anyone ever tell you not to run from yokai?” His deep, purring voice sent a shiver across her skin. He leaned down as his hand on her throat forced her head back. He brushed his nose along her jaw, from her chin up to her ear. “It’s the surest way to make us pounce,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear.
Goose bumps raced down the back of her neck and she clenched her jaw. “Get your hands off me.”
He hummed as he pushed his face into her hair, inhaling through his nose. “But didn’t you put your hands on me first?”
“I was treating your wounds.” She summoned her most commanding tone, desperately hoping her voice wouldn’t quaver. “You’re proving that your kind’s reputation is well deserved with such disrespect and ingratitude toward the person who saved your life.”
His head came up and fear shot through her that she’d offended him, that he would surely kill her now. Instead, he made a thoughtful noise, and his hands fell away, releasing her.
She almost leaped out of his lap but remembered his comment about running from yokai. With more self-control than she’d thought she had, she carefully stood, walked four steps, and turned to face him. He stayed where he was, lounging on the bed with his feet on the floor, casually propped up on one arm. His head tilted to one side as he watched her, and that slight, knowing grin played about his lips.
She sank down to kneel on the floor, mostly because her legs were shaking so badly she was afraid he’d notice. As nonchalantly as possible, she slid her hands into the opposite sleeves of her kimono and pinched her hidden ofuda between two fingers, ready to pull the paper talismans out.
“No need for that, little miko,” he remarked, each word almost caressing her. How could he have such an otherworldly yet still human voice? “I will not harm you.”
She flushed, embarrassed she’d been so obvious, but didn’t let go of the ofuda. “What was that—that assault then?”
“Assault, you call it? That little embrace?”
“You—” She broke off with a small shake of her head. If he was determined to ignore the inappropriateness of forcefully holding a woman against him and rubbing his face on her, nothing she said would change his mind. “You have the manners of a dog.”
“What did you expect? The ritual greetings of the imperial court?”
“Some respect for the person who saved your life would have been welcome.”
“Ah, yes, you did save me, and I am very grateful.” He idly tugged at a lock of his hair as his gaze slid down her and back up again. “I am in your debt. Tell me your desire and I will fulfill it.”
“My—my desire?” she choked.
He smirked again. “A favor, little miko. I am saying I owe you a favor.”
Releasing October 21, 2016.
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Grand Prize: One winner will Receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
Runner-Ups: Three winners will each receive one $10 Amazon Gift Card.