Monthly Archives: February 2013

Dragonwell Publishing Review Event!

To celebrate our great rankings and the bestselling status of ONCE UPON A CURSE anthology, and to highlight the work of our authors, we are hosting a review event! During the month of March, any review posted on the web for any of the Dragonwell Publishing titles will earn you a $1 gift certificate to the Dragonwell Publishing bookstore! This means, if you post your review in multiple venues (e.g., Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Kobo, Dragonwell Publishing bookstore, Goodreads, Library Thing, your blog, and others), you may earn enough to buy one of our paperbacks, featuring great designs and award-winning cover art!

In addition, you can also receive gift certificates if you review other books by Anna Kashina and Cindy Lynn Speer. Just click on any of these covers of the eligible books:

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To participate, e-mail us the link(s) where your reviews have been posted and we will e-mail you a gift certificate code, redeemable in our bookstore at

But there is more! Every day we will raffle an e-book of one Dragonwell Publishing title. One book will be raffled for each 10 entrants daily at the following link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


(we will need 10 entrants per day to raffle a copy, so please help us spread the word!)

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ONCE UPON A CURSE: 2 weeks on the Amazon bestseller lists

Thanks to the support of our readers, ONCE UPON A CURSE anthology has stayed on multiple bestseller lists in the Amazon Kindle store for over 2 weeks. To celebrate this landmark, we are offering it at a 15% discount in the Kindle store. And yes, as a special bonus, anyone who submits a review during the next 2 weeks will receive a gift certificate to the Dragonwell Publishing store. More than that, for every 10 reviewers we will raffle a $10 gift certificate to

To participate, submit your review to any of the major retail site(s) which have this book on sale and e-mail us a link. We will send you $1 for each link–multiple reviews welcome!

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Guest Post: Tara Maya on Fantasy vs Science Fiction

We are hosting a guest post from Tara Maya, author of the Unfinished Song series, on her blog tour to promote the release of her new novel BLOOD. Tara is stopping by our blog today to share her views on the definitions of science fiction and fantasy genres.

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The eternal questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Is there in truth no beauty? And what is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?

David Brin has weighed in on this last question. In his essay, The Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy?, he asks, “what is my definition of the separation?”

For all the courage and heroism shown by fantasy characters across 4000 years of great, compelling dramas — NOTHING EVER CHANGES! Aragorn may be a better king than Sauron would have been. Hurray. Fine. But he’s still a freaking king. … The core thing about fantasy tales is that, after the adventure is done and the bad guys are defeated… the social order stays the same.

Obviously, he thinks scifi is cooler, but he’s explained why. To be honest, I think that one reason many people prefer fantasy is because change is static; nostalgia, rather than anticipation, is the guiding motive.

But does it have to be this way? I think Brin conflates two issues. Why is fantasy overwhelmingly feudal? Does fantasy fetishize an unchanging past?

Castles and swords, knights and princesses… I love these things, and I’ve never been able to walk through an old castle without wanting to write a story about it. Legends and myths give me the same feeling. I want to bring these things back to life. I want to imagine myself into that world. One has to leave knowledge of the future behind in that world because people who lived during medieval times did not have a sense of progress. They had a sense of an unchanging world, or in some cases, of a deteriorating world.

It’s also certainly true that fantasy often falls back on feudalism. This is not so strange if one is using a quasi-medieval pseudo-European (or even pseudo-Japanese or pseudo-Chinese or pseudo-Timbuktu) culture. I had an idea once for a story set in a pseudo-Tibetan setting, and what disturbed me most was that most readers wouldn’t have been able to really tell it apart from a pseudo-French one from the same era: Monks, kings, peasants, horses, swords. Yet even in Urban Fantasy, one often finds that the Secret Organization of Were-creatures, Vampires and Merfolk, or whatever it is, operates along quite feudal lines.

One of my secret goals has been to create some democratic fantasy. Now, I don’t always succeed. Faearth (the world of my Unfinished Song series) has no emperors or kings because they are not “advanced” enough. They are not a democracy either. They have elements of both autocratic and democratic governance, in the way that many neolithic cultures did. The system differs from tribe to tribe, and also from year to year, but the basic system is that there are three councils or “societies”: the Society of Matriarchs, the Society of Patriarchs, and the Society of Tavaedies (the warrior-dancers with magic).

These three groups make important decisions together by casting stones (on a mat or into jars), a kind of voting. No one else is allowed to vote, but in theory, everyone in the tribe can vote eventually, if they survive arrows of ordinary misfortune, since the only qualification for becoming a Matriarch or Patriarch is old age or a Shining Name. It’s as if the voting age in our society were 60, except for athletes, veterans and movie stars. (It’s much younger for them because they marry and die younger.)

I did not want to write about a utopia (nor a dystopia) in The Unfinished Song. There are many things I think are admirable in the cultures I describe, but also things which are rather horrid. There is also real change; real progress–though it may be as much a threat as a promise. One thing it is not, is an immutable world. Indeed, that is the crux of the dispute between the fae and the humans. The fae are immutable, immortal and eternal. Their time is circular. The humans, like the Black Arrow of Lady Death, can only travel time in one direction. They must change, as inevitably as they must die.
Where To Buy Tara Maya’s Blood:


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Dark, Wicked, Gorgeous: excerpt from ONCE UPON A CURSE

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He was the handsomest man I’d ever seen.

Tall and slender, he wore his pale-as-snow hair to his collar, a perfect widow’s peak accentuating his aesthetic, almost lupine features. His eyes were the color of amber and sparkled strangely in the candlelight. Sometimes it was almost as if his eyes were on fire. I tried not to look him in the eyes too often. I didn’t know what he would read in mine.

He was always fashionable. Perfect clothing, tasteful and not ostentatious, perfect manners, perfect style. He followed the rules as if he walked on a knife’s edge, knowing just how long it was proper to touch, to stare, careful to never be alone with a woman longer than was proper. Managing to make one feel as if they, too, walked on the knife’s edge with him without doing anything that could be remarked upon as unseemly. He was wealthy, and while he did not have the highest of titles, he had all the things that allowed him entrance into the finest circles. Better yet, some would say, he had all these things and he was as yet unmarried.

But the ladies, from the maidens looking for good marriages to the widows desperate for a man’s protection, all avoided him. They flirted, yes, but only as far as safety allowed. No one would consent to marry him, it was said, no matter how fine the offer, no matter how beautiful the dowry gifts.

That’s not to say he hadn’t been married once already. And that was why, thanks to rumor and to superstition, it was said he would never marry again.

“What was she like, this Dona Meriania?” I asked my hostess, Dona Welicide. She was a second cousin who had graciously agreed to take me in after my guardian lost everything we had to gambling debts. He was in debtor’s prison in the capital, and there he could remain, really, for all I cared. He had tried to sell me once to avoid imprisonment and I figured better him than me.

Welicide brightened. I knew nothing of the local gossip, stories which, to her circle, were so overtold as to be threadbare. Now she could relate them to a new audience; in fact, I think it was half the reason she invited me, to have someone else to tell her stories to. “She was beautiful. As dark as he is pale, very much the lady of the moment. Everyone wanted her. She had a taste for rubies, I remember.”

I found myself smiling. “That’s all you can remember of her?”

“Oh, Tessa, I can remember much more than that, but I fear I did not care for the girl. She was my greatest rival, ever since we were little.”

“Did you fight over Don Joaquin?”

“Shhh,” she breathed. “I was already engaged at the time, so of course not.”

Don Joaquin had dipped his fair head to take a sip from the glass he was holding. He was across the room, a room filled with music and laughing people, but still he stopped when I whispered his name, and looked up at me, slowly, first from the corner of his eye, then straight on, meeting my gaze. I smiled slightly, taken aback by his intensity. I could feel the weight of his stare like a touch, over my cheeks and nose and mouth. He returned the smile just as slightly, then turned to address a man who had come off the dance floor.

“Oh, but that man frightens me,” my cousin said. I would have been inclined to agree, but the chills running down my spine felt too good to be wrong.

I lost sight of him for a time, until I went outside to get a breath of air. I chose one of the smaller balconies that stood open on the far side of the room. I saw him almost immediately; the light of the moon shone on his hair like a beacon. I paused at the threshold of the doorway, then continued onto the balcony. I leaned against the rail opposite from where he stood, but still, there was only a foot between us.

I imagined I could feel the heat of his presence radiating off of him.

“You are not afraid?” His voice was deep, like the forest at night. He seemed surprised, perhaps even amused.

“I am not afraid.” I realized it was true.

“You have not been in our fair country long enough, perhaps.”

“Perhaps. Perhaps I do not listen to rumors.”

“Or perhaps you simply do not listen.”

The coolness of his tone took me aback. What did he know? “I think that you rather like your notoriety, Don Joaquin. Maybe you enjoy being dark and mysterious and dangerous.”

He straightened up, cold dark eyes meeting mine. “No,” he said. “I do not.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, but I spoke to the air, for he had already pushed past the doors and back into the ballroom.

That was not the last time I saw him, though perhaps it should have been.

Order the book from or to continue reading this, and other wicked, and gorgeous stories featuring irresistible villains and dark, handsome Valentines.

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Book Buyers Survey: participate to win a prize!

Thanks to everyone for your great support during our Tales of Love and Magic pre-Valentine sale, that moved the Once Upon A Curse anthology into Amazon bestseller lists in several categories.

We need your input in a short 3-question survey, to find out when do you prefer to buy books. For every 10 participants we will raffle a $5 gift certificate to the Dragonwell Publishing bookstore. In addition, for every 50 respondents we will also raffle a $5 gift certificate to the store.

Please take our survey at the following link

or by clicking on the image below:


Thank you for your support!

NOTE: since the survey is anonymous, to be eligible for a drawing, please leave a comment in the comment box or e-mail us at dragonwellpublishing(at)

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ONCE UPON A CURSE an Amazon Bestseller!

Thanks to everyone’s support during our promotional sale, ONCE UPON A CURSE is currently #160 in Amazon’s paid store, with the following rankings:

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TALES OF LOVE AND MAGIC book sale is still ongoing, with a number of wonderful fantasy love stories on sale until tomorrow. Stock up for the Valentine’s day with these timeless romantic tales for all tastes:

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TALES OF LOVE AND MAGIC include 10 great fantasies with elements of romance, discounted to 99 cents for the next 3 days. These titles include 3 favorites from Dragonwell Publishing, THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD, THE CHOCOLATIER’S WIFE, and ONCE UPON A CURSE. These, and the other titles on the list would make a great Valentine gift.

Check out the list at the Amazon web site:

Or go to the official web site for the promotion to see the full list of venues where the participating books are on sale for the next 3 days:


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BOOK LOVER’S GIVEAWAY: enter to win Dragonwell Publishing print and e-books and other great prizes!

Free Book Dude is hosting a Valentine’s Book Lover’s Giveaway, with great prizes and freebies, including print and e-copies of THE CHOCOLATIER’S WIFE, THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD, and ONCE UPON A CURSE. Check it out and enter to win at:

And, don’t forget to sign up to follow our blog to get first-hand information about our upcoming Valentine’s promotions!

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