Friday, March 2, 2012

Urban Fantasy Author Jessa Slade | Guest Post & Giveaway

Jessa Slade, urban fantasy romance author is my special guest today. Jessa writes the action-packed Marked Souls series featuring immortal warriors possessed by repentant demons who stand between humanity and the true demons. Darkness Undone, the fourth book in the series releases next Tuesday and is the start of a new trilogy cycle in the Marked Souls world.

Every hero needs a weapon and Jessa takes the subject seriously with today's guest post, which I have entitled "Loving Arms".  Jessa walks us through the armaments featured in the series. We have a terrific goody bag of items to giveaway to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment telling us about your favorite weapons, real or imagined (please fill out the entry form at the end to make it easier to contact you.

Jessa also has an instant giveaway (free download) of her science fiction romance  novella "Enslaved by Starlight" (details below).

Welcome Jessa!

Loving Arms
by Jessa Slade

I am a huge fan of multi-stage explosions. Many a mediocre movie has been improved -- to my mind anyway -- with additional pretend napalm. While I haven’t been super impressed with the superhero movies lately, I cheered at the Avengers trailer when we got to the explosions-within-explosions part. (Plus, Joss Whedon; need I say more? I thought not.)

I wanted some destructo-fun in my stories too. But I didn’t want to destroy too much of Chicago (it’s my hometown, after all) so I kept my mayhem lower key. In the first three Marked Souls novels, I stuck with weapons that stick: all pointy, edged weapons. My heroes are all immortal warriors possessed by repentant demons. They keep to the shadows in a world that doesn’t know they exist, so they need silent, hand-to-hand weapons to fight the demons that have no intention of repenting.

In SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Archer has a futuristic cool battle ax with telescoping blade that retracts into itself so he can tuck it into his sexy trenchcoat. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they didn’t put a telescoping battle ax on the cover. Maybe because all the suggested images I sent them for reference featured short, chubby dwarves with monstrous beards? Hmm, just a thought.

I gave the cover artist a break and got a little more realistic with the second two books. In FORGED OF SHADOWS, the Chinese-American heroine Jilly chooses for herself deer horn knives, also known as crescent moon knives that were geared for Asian martial arts. Although the hero, Liam, is a former blacksmith and fights with a hammer, he is holding Jilly’s knife on the cover. Aw, isn’t that sweet?

In VOWED IN SHADOWS, Jonah was an African missionary in his old life and is partial to a multi-pronged Congolese weapon that came in a few sizes, from almost sword length to a throwing design. Although some version were more ceremonial, I figured they look highly effective too. At least I know I wouldn’t want to come up against one in a dark alley if I was a demon.

But in the fourth Marked Souls book, DARKNESS UNDONE, I have a hero who ISN’T a moody broody bad boy demonically possessed alpha male. Sidney Westerbrook is basically a bookworm, so handing him a sword-and-a-half wasn’t going to do him much good. And, since DARKNESS UNDONE starts a new trilogy within the world of the Marked Souls, with a new villain, I wanted to go off with a bang.

Hence Sid’s gun on the cover. I admit I was sort of thinking of Indiana Jones facing the broadsword with a whip...and then wisely unholstering his gun. Actually, Sid and Indy would have gotten along gangbusters, discussing antiquities and saving the world. And they both know sometimes heroism turns into grandstanding, which is just foolish. I had the chance to shoot an M14 once and I was surprised at how...well, gentle it was. Sid’s gun holds hollow-point rounds filled with shards of an angelic sword (long story; about 370 pages to be exact) and packs a bigger kick. Against demons anyway.

(Of course, no weapon in the world is going to save Sid from his heroine, Alyce, but we won’t tell him that.)

Just as the title convention of the stories is changing -- from “Shadows” to “Darkness” -- so is the gun a symbol of change in the Marked Souls’ battle against evil. The fight is coming out of the shadows, and it’s time to start making some noise.

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite weapons, real or imagined. I have a few more heroes who need some loving arms around them!

Leave a comment for your chance to win:
  1. A signed copy of DARKNESS UNDONE
  2. A set of Marked Souls Romance Trading Cards
  3. A music download card with the album containing the Marked Souls theme song
  4. A pair of earrings inspired by the storyworld
And everyone who stops by today can download a free copy of my science fiction romance novella, “Enslaved By Starlight,” in the HOTTER ON THE EDGE anthology. Just go to and use coupon code UW37U, or download at Amazon, and other ebook retailers for 99¢. 

Thank you for reading!

The war between good and evil has raged for millennia,
and as a powerful new enemy ascends,
the Marked Souls are pushed to the ragged edge…

Sidney Westerbrook has always studied darkness and damnation from a sensible distance. Now, to earn his place as a league Bookkeeper, he must discover why Chicago is such a battleground of soul-linked warriors. But the research becomes personal when he finds himself over his head and under attack — and at the mercy of a waif with demon-lit eyes and a deep yearning in her heart.

Alyce Carver has been alone longer than she can remember, battered by the living nightmares that haunt her city. Cornered by yet another gang of demons, she unwittingly joins forces with a handsome scholar who can salvage her past, and she in turn may be the key to his investigations. But she won’t let him go until he shows her everything she’s been missing.

What begins as an experiment in possession becomes a trial by desire so powerful it threatens both their lives, even as it binds their souls.
Product Details:

ISBN-13: 9780451236265
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 3/6/2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 400

“Slade’s plot packs plenty of action…in a group of forceful personalities.”
– Publishers Weekly

“[A] fish-out-of-water story that keeps a rapid pace, delivering a strong plot, 
enjoyable characters and a stunning world.”
–RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Read Chapter 1 of DARKNESS UNDONE and find links to favorite bookstores here.

Read the first chapters of all the Marked Souls novels at

You can find Jessa online at:


  1. I've always been interested in the bow & arrow. I think it gives a more personal touch to the long range weapon.


    1. I think the Hunger Games trailer makes the bow look very bad-ass. Excellent choice!

  2. I have to say, that I think that Crossbows are pretty awesome! Love the series and thanks for the fantastic giveaway!

    1. Crossbows are a great weapon: strong and beautiful. Hard to hide under your jacket, unless maybe I could do some fictional engineering...

  3. I want to meet these immortal warriors. If I had a weapon I would want a "power" ball that can unleash power to all my enemies. If I point it their way I can zap away their power. That would come in pretty handy.

    1. I love how you think! Have you seen the footage of "TazeBall"? It's basically soccer with tasers o_0

      My dark fae in DARK HUNTER'S TOUCH (out in July with Harlequin Nocturne Cravings) have a weapon called the amber sun, that is similar to what you are talking about. Much zapping ensues LOL

  4. My favorite weapons are broadswords. They're an up close and personal kind of weapon, but not so great if the opponent has a gun. :D

    1. I LOVE the sword exhibit (actually, it's many weapons, but the swords are my fave) at the Chicago art museum. I also wanted to go to that hall when I was a kid. The suit of armor was so small, I could imagine myself wearing it!

  5. Well, I'm really partial to the bow and arrow -- recurves and longbows specifically -- but I also love me some swords. I am a tiny bit too short to handle a historically accurate-sized 'hand-a-half' sword (aka bastard sword) but I still prefer that one over all the other types. And knives/daggers are ever so much fun...

    Then of course I'm fairly conversant in M16/M4, 9mm pistol, and several type of machine guns, compliments of the US Army, but IMHO, they all rate a 'meh' on the WOOT! scale.

    1. I call Sue for my zombie apocalypse survival team! I'll be wielding the shovel :)

  6. My favorite - a Star Trek phaser. What I like most about it is that it has multiple settings, and in particular has a "stun" setting - a non-lethal way of stopping an adversary. Imagine what wars and law enforcement tactics would be like if such a thing existed today!

    1. Your answer does credit to the gentle in your handle :) The spooky real weapon they have now is that "heat ray" that can be aimed at a crowd so they feel like their skin is on fire. Technically non-lethal but I wouldn't trust it.

  7. love this series and I so want to take up shooting. love the guns but a bow and arrow sounds like fun to.

    1. Pamk, I'm thrilled you enjoy the stories! I'm ashamed to admit I don't know which Avenger uses the bow and arrow in the trailer, but I think it looks pretty bad-ass.

  8. I've always liked crossbows.But a gun is always good to have on hand too :)

    1. tweeted!/elaing8/status/176098510918266880

    2. I think a wise heroine always brings backup ;) Maybe she should have two heroes!

  9. love to read these

  10. I love a gun. They get it done right!!

  11. Thanks for the free read at Smashwords!

  12. I love how creative Jessa is with her choices. I've always thought crossbows were neat, because you can use them for defense and survival. Thanks for the Smashwords free read. :)

    1. Oh and here's my tweet:

  13. I have read all the books in the series and loved them. Can't wait for Darkness Undone. I think my favouite weapon is a sword or a knife for really close combat

  14. I think a bow and arrow would be fun in a book. Sounds like a great book.


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